Holidays are Holy Days

There are two things to get right from the start about the mystery of Christmas.  The first is that it was not peaceful.  The angels sang of peace to men of goodwill but that was precisely what stirred things up.  They were angels from eternity and we are humans in time.  Even the holy lady Mary had to be calmed down by the archangel Gabriel.  There is no description of what he looked like. Perhaps his appearance was that of a man, for that is how angels can assume a benevolent disguise and appear to us as “strangers unaware” (Hebrew 13:2).  St. Joan of Arc could only say of Gabriel, that he was brilliant.  If you think that is a legend, ask her soldiers. My father died on a cold winter day in the morning leaving me to comfort my grieving mother and that night all the heat went off in our country house.  I looked in the directory for plumbers, not easy to get in a rural area, and picked one number out of more than a hundred and he appeared with astonishing celerity:  a young man in overalls and curly gold hair with a sympathetic voice.  After he repaired everything, he refused any money and for the next day the basement was filled with the perfume of roses.  My untutored sense as the house became warm, was that my father was with the Lord.

If that stranger was an angel unaware to me, he must have been one of the lower choirs since he did not frighten me.   He fixed the plumbing that, at the moment with my mother cold and in the shock of grief, was more important to me than explaining the Homoousion Formula.  The Mother of God deserved an archangel, one of the top ones, and that is why she had to be calmed down.  So it was with the shepherds, who had no experience of indoor plumbing in order or out of order.   What was happening in Bethlehem was earth shattering.  If there is a noise when a jet breaks the sound barrier, there is something more stunning when the Wisdom from on high leaps down from the heavens.  The shepherds “were struck with great fear” (Luke 2:9).  The peace of which those angels sang was the traumatic contradiction of the Evil One who had prowled this earth since the first Man confused evil with good.  The first Christmas peace was “not as the world gives peace” (John 14:27).  That baby in the manger had in him all the power that created the universe, and when he cried, his little lungs interpreted through flesh the utterance that made light and all other things.  That is why Christmas should frighten humans, and by that fright bestow ineffable gladness.

The other thing about Christmas which cliché neglects is that the infant Jesus was not homeless.  Yes, there was no room in the inn, but a few bad days in a barn would be far worse for us than for tougher souls back then.  It is true that in his human nature, Jesus spoke wistfully of home, as if he envied the birds of the air who had their nests and foxes who had their holes, but he was really incapable of envying that sort of repose.  He liked houses that moral lives made into homes, and he enjoyed the hospitality of Peter in Capernaum whose house still can be seen, as well as the grander house of Zaccheus, and his favorite spot in Bethany by the fireside with Mary and Martha and Lazarus.  The return of Lazarus from the dead must have disturbed his sisters’ domestic tranquility but nothing could have unsettled Jesus on his way home to heaven. He was never alone. He said that himself.  He spoke of his Father’s house with its many mansions, as an architect who knew all the blueprints.  He called the Temple in Jerusalem an earthly house of his Father.  What must Joseph have thought when Jesus said that?  Joseph had provided a good home for Jesus. Given the economics of the day, one could have called the house of a decently employed “tekton,” or building contractor, such as Joseph, anachronistically, a bourgeois household.

At the next Roman Synod on family life, tribute should be given to Joseph. At the recent Synod more attention was given to aberrant fathers and men who eschew fatherhood altogether, than to earnest men who toil in an unfeeling culture as they love their wives and children.  Joseph is their supernal inspiration, for he loved without the natural consolations of human matrimony.  Joseph died, as the patron of a holy death, with Jesus and Mary by his bed. Years later, the Holy Spirit gave the Son of God and foster child of Joseph a resting place in a cave in Jerusalem for three days, shorter than the slumber in the cave in Bethlehem.  No, Jesus was never homeless.  He came from his heavenly home to cure the homesickness of the human race which never truly is at home in homes, daily longing for an eternal house whose earthly zip code is beauty and truth and goodness.

Christmas lasts twelve days, to the Epiphany, and includes the feast of the Mother of God, through whom our Lord came into his own creation. It is curious that some extreme Evangelical groups, neglectful of the Lady whom our Lord bequeathed to us from the Cross as our own mother, do not celebrate Christmas on the grounds that it is based on a pagan Roman holiday, but do observe the civil New Year’s Day. There are large so-called “mega churches” or “mall churches” run like corporations, which find it cost-productive to close on Christmas.

January 1 is an arbitrary date for the beginning of the new year. In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar moved the new year festival from spring to January to synchronize better with the solar cycle. In Catholicism, Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, nine months before the Christmas celebration of Christ’s birth, started the new civil calendar, while Advent began the liturgical year. In some places, this still affects the legal courts and tax calendars. In the United States, the presidential inaugu­ration used to take place in March. January 1 became the civil new year in English-speaking countries only in 1752, when England finally accepted the improved calendar which Pope Gregory XIII had imposed in 1582.

The Church would transform the best of pagan customs rather than destroy them. She was free to appropriate an old Roman winter festival for the Christmas celebration. But it is more likely the anti-Christian emperor Aurelian, who was assassinated in 275, promoted a festival “Natalis Solis Invicti”—the Birth of the Unconquered Sun—to brighten the darkest days of the year at a time of political collapse and decay, and collaterally to distract Christians from worshiping Christ, much as influences in Western civilization today try to dream up alternative “holidays” to the true Christmas. Easter and Pentecost were the Church’s principal feasts, and Christmas became a major celebration only in about 336. But the Church had long tried to establish a specific date for our Lord’s birth, using complicated calculations from the date of the Passion, based on an old custom which ascribed the conception of great figures to the same day of the year on which they died. When the Greek calendar superseded the Roman calendar around 300, the dates differed in the Byzantine and Latin uses.

While December 25 was not the historic date of our Lord’s birth, its selection seems to have had nothing to do with the pagan celebration of the “Birth of the Uncon­quered Sun,” but Christians were able to make a pun of it, in celebrating the birth of the “Sun of Justice and Righteousness.” This is Catholic reality. In the introduction to the “Essay on the Development of Doctrine,” Cardinal Newman said that to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant. It is also true that to honor the mystery of the “Mother of God” is to praise without the stain of heresy her “Son who is the Light of the World.”

No one will accuse me of flattering The New York Times and so I was not edified when just before Christmas they announced on their front page that Pope Francis had said that dogs may be in heaven.  A nice sentiment.  As one who wept at the death of his terrier, the supreme and best dog in the world, I was inclined as a boy to approve an old belief that animals can speak at midnight on Christmas.  One year I really thought I heard her say something at that moment.  But now as a theologian I consider that, if my terrier can be there, so can dinosaurs and other less congenial creatures.  And if dogs can go to heaven, logically they can go to hell.  But those distinctions are for humans with free will and animated consciences.  We can only say for sure that in Bethlehem rude beasts were able to look at the Lord, by a privilege vouchsafed eternally only to humans who love him.  I doubt that the newspaper that featured the item on pets, which wrongly quoted the Pope and had to be meekly corrected, did so for no other reason than to ridicule Holy Church.

Right after Christmas the Church celebrates the sacrifice of the Holy Innocents, as an ancient recollection. Some may think it not in keeping with the celebratory tone of the Twelve Days.  I have never seen a Massacre of the Holy Innocents greeting card.  But just a few weeks ago four Christian children in Iraq were beheaded for saying “I love Yeshuah (Jesus).”  That did not make the front page of The New York Times.  Editors so unbalanced in perspective are childish and so they do not enjoy the grace of those who are not childish but childlike.   The difference is holy innocence.  We may not talk easily about those martyred children as we gather around the Christmas tree, but we can rejoice that this Christmas they are gathered around Yeshuah. And do tell those who would replace “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” that holidays mean holy days and if the children who love Yeshuah are silenced, the stones themselves will cry out.

For he is our childhood’s pattern,
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high;
Where like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from “The Madonna of the Roses” painted by William Bouguereau.

Fr. George W. Rutler

By

Fr. George W. Rutler is pastor of St. Michael's church in New York City. He is the author of many books including Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943 (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press) and Hints of Heaven (Sophia Institute Press). His latest book is He Spoke To Us (Ignatius, 2016).

  • Rob

    Thank you Fr. Rutler for this wonderful and thoughtful article. It is a great example of looking back to allow us to move forward. A ressourcement centered on Christ that enables the appropriate aggiornamento in this new year and to this new age without rupture.

  • JBubs

    A lovely article, Father Rutler. I have two thoughts, if I may. If it is true that “to be deep in history is to cease being Protestant”, then it follows that “to be deeper in history is to cease being Christian.” Also, since the premise is actually stated “ALL dogs go to heaven” it is logically impossible for any dog to go to hell.
    Merry Christmas.

    • Catholic pilgrim

      No, the extension does not work. Christianity is deeply grounded in History. Christianity fulfills history. Christianity exists in sacred continuity. Protestantism is an abrupt Disruption of Christianity’s sacred continuity. Protestantism is a rejection of history. At its core, the Protestant Revolt was utterly Anti-Gospel (as our Lord commands His Body/Church to be One just as He and His Father are One) & heretical.
      Christianity is an affirmation of history while Protestantism is an abrupt rejection (&/or Ignorance) of history.

      • JBubs

        Now don’t get your knickers in a twist, but I must point out that what you are saying is that Christianity was established before Christianity was established. And if it is true that all dogs go to heaven, then I think there is room for at least a few Protestants.

        • Catholic pilgrim

          My knickers? Lol
          The Church exists in perfect continuity- from the Apostolic age to today’s Patriarch of Rome, Francis, & the college of Catholic Bishops. There are no abrupt disruptions nor discontinuity in Christ’s Church (since He Himself has promised so) as opposed to how Mormonism or ardent Protestants would’ve you believed. The Church fullfills Temple Judaism. Sacred continuity is what you find if you delve deep in history, which is why many great men & women have ceased being Protestants & embraced Catholicism.
          If you want answers regarding the salvation of individual Protestants or the beloved Canine species, go get a Catechism, ask a Priest, look it up on Catholic Answers websites, or ask Fr. Pacwa at EWTN. The more sources, the better understanding you’ll get. Hope that helps.

          • JBubs

            I am pleased that the knickers gave you the snickers.
            I must now confess that know what you are saying and I accept it fully, for my trust in the Triune God tells me the same. As for wanting answers about these particular salvation questions, I really don’t. I am content to embrace these mysteries, hopefully to be surprised later. I think there are some understandings destined to remain just beyond our earthly pay grade. I have enjoyed our discussion and I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. May you always seek the Truth, find the Way, live the Life, and please God and live forever.

    • jessej

      Hi JB, John starts his Gospel at the first moment of history John 1: 1-5
      I love the explication the CCC gives.

      #280 Creation is the foundation of “all God’s saving plans,” the “beginning of the history of salvation”117 that culminates in Christ. Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”: from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ.118.
      Your comment on history just jogged this from the memory hole 🙂
      Merry Xmas and BTW I’ll probably steal knickers giving snickers line and never credit you so apologies in advance 🙂

  • TERRY

    This guy is about 5 times smarter than I am and when he writes stuff most of it goes over my head but it is so beautifully written and such a pure pleasure to read that I just keep coming back and reading it over and over,.

    I should have this understood by January 3.

  • Consolatrix Afflictorum

    Thank you for this reflection, Father. Have a blessed Christmastide!

  • onearmsteve

    Didn’t Our Lady, His mother, know when He was born, & told others? I find it hard to believe we don’t really know when Christ was born when Our Lady was there for it & it’s not like nobody didn’t ask her to tell them the story. Dr Taylor Marshall has a great ebook on this on his page

    • Catholic pilgrim

      The Evangelist St. Luke certainly interviewed our Mother Mary (including regarding Her genealogy & encounter with Gabriel the Archangel & Her Son’s nativity & childhood) when writing his Gospel. So St. Luke certainly asked a lot of stuff to Virgin Mother Mary. As to Mary knowing the exact date & year, she was a young, simple pregnant Jewish girl when it happened. I could be wrong but I doubt she was very familiar with secular history, calendars, & Roman/Greek chronology. Most people back in those ancient days (especially Jewish peasants like Mary or Apostles) did Not even celebrate their own Bithdays like we do. For some reason, most ancient people did not care much about Birth dates, only the year of death. She knew her family’s genealogy (which is why it’s recorded only on St. Luke- St. Matthew focuses on St. Joseph’s side of the story) & Her nation’s (Israel) history. That was enough for Her.

      • onearmsteve

        Good morning,

        I have issues with the “Our Lady was ignorant” argument. Do you think when she was in the temple someone knew what year it was? St Joseph, I sure, did. Even IF she didn’t then she still knew the weather, time of day, surroundings, etc. Even today mom’s remember what the day was, who was there, etc so you think Our Lady, who had a much greater memory (she knew the entire OT & doubt any of us on here know that & yet we think she didn’t know what day it was?) do you think she forgot those details? I’m sure she knew what a year was & how old Our Lord was. So forgive me if I don’t buy into the she didn’t have that knowledge idea

        http://taylormarshall.com/2014/12/3-reasons-christ-was-born-on-december-25.html

      • hombre111

        If Mary was a typical woman of her era, she could not read. The more I read St. Luke and study the culture of Mary’s era, the more certain I become that she did influence the writing of that Gospel.

  • chrisinva

    Powerful stuff. Who knew that something new could be written about the birth of Our Lord, so vibrant and fresh that one can’t put it down.

  • mollysdad

    Christians couldn’t have made a pun of it unless they spoke modern English.

    • Bill Russell

      The pun works both in Latin and English. The early Christians adapted the Latin word game “soli soli soli” (to the only sun of the earth) as a pun for Christ. It frequently appeared on monuments (and sun dials) – John Donne made a similar pun in English, in his “Hymn to God the Father.”

  • Joseph

    “Dogs in heaven” can stir emotions and vanquish intellectual arguments as well as hurt children. I prefer the statement of a wise priest who told a child, “If you need your dog to be with you in heaven for you to be perfectly happy, he’ll be there.”

  • hombre111

    Magnificent. But as for Joseph loving without the consolations of human matrimony, bound beforehand by the Church’s teaching on Mary’s perpetual virginity, I believe, but with a grain of salt. I am willing to be surprised by what really happened when I finally reach heavenly bliss.

    • If.

    • R. K. Ich

      The cleric of doubt strikes again! Surely you and Küng will have lots to talk about. 🙂

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    “In Catholicism, Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, nine months before the Christmas celebration of Christ’s birth, started the new civil calendar, while Advent began the liturgical year. In some places, this still affects the legal courts and tax calendars. ”

    In the UK, the tax year used to begin on Lady Day (25th March). When the Calendar Act 1751 dropped 11 days from the calendar, in order to avoid a short tax year of 354 days, it provided (s 6) that the tax year would begin on 6 April – which it still does

    • Bill Russell

      One wishes that the tax year had no beginning ! It is droll that it took the UK so long to adopt the “papist” Gregorian calendar. Prejudice prevailed over science. Nonetheless, Happy Christmas.

    • “in order to avoid a short tax year of 354 days”
      Let us do nothing to delay the collections the crown is counting upon!

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        A “short” taqx year would mean people paying more in taxes, not less – 11 days more, in fact

        • Depends on how the tax was levied.

  • reddog44

    It is unfortunate that the writer feels it necessary to slam Protestants, by quoting Cardinal Newman, who erroneously stated ” that to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant”.
    This type of comment does nothing to foster Christian charity, and puts everyone in a bad light. One fault may be that Catholics do not understand or wish to understand how loyal and faithful to tradition many Protestants are in their historic beliefs. To be a true Christian requires one to be Traditional, historic and faithful. By throwing stones does nothing to convince anyone of the Incarnation.

    • Bill Russell

      It is not throwing stones. It is simply stating the truth. What Newman said is a fact. And Newman is a saint.

      • reddog44

        He may be a saint in Catholic eyes, but while on earth he was fully human and subject to bias and given to emotional responses. Everyone is entitled to mistakes including saints on earth, so I do not hold that against him and forgive Newman for his comments.

        • But Luther, Calvin, Wesley and the rest of the gang were impeccable, right?

          • reddog44

            You may be onto something, and maybe just maybe, they will sit in judgment of some of the corrupt popes? We may have to wait until the final judgment to find out, then we will know for sure.

            • Christ is the judge, but I’ll forgive your Scriptural ignorance.

              • reddog44

                You are a nasty one, which is a good thing in a way, as it will keep the Protestant Church strong.

                • Objectivetruth

                  You have no answers or intelligent, coherent responses, only personal attacks.

                  Does the Truths of Christ matter to you? You will only find them in its fullest in the only Church Christ founded, the Catholic Church.

                  • reddog44

                    You are a hopeless and beyond reasoning with.

                    • Why don’t you man up and go disrupt your family gatherings?

                    • reddog44

                      You are one sick puppy, and an evil person to boot!

                    • Get the lock out of your own eye. I’m not trolling Lutherquest.

                    • reddog44

                      You really are one messed up person, but I will pray for you!

                    • Pray for yourself and your children. Messed up is your sarcastic sanctimony.

                    • reddog44

                      I do that all the time, but I will certainly keep you in my prayers as well. “A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine.”

                    • You really have a problem with project. I hope you get the therapeutic intervention you require.

                • Nasty, meaning won’t cry uncle or play dead.

                  Which Protestant Church? Lutherans? Evangelicals? Methodists? Episcopalians? Presbyterians?

    • Objectivetruth

      Then how (as a Protestant) do you square your beliefs when they contradict the teachings of the early Church Fathers (Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Clement, etc.?) “Traditional” requires ones belief in the Real Prescence in the Eucharist, for example . If you deny this, how do you you define yourself as a “true Christian?”

      • reddog44

        The Reformation did not
        contradict early Church teachings, it was the RC Church who slipped into error
        by selling Indulgences, and erroneously teaching salvation through works, and
        not by what Jesus did on the cross. The Catholic Church has finally realized
        this error and corrected itself as today Luther’s teaching are widely preached
        from Catholic pulpits. It is by “Grace we are saved not by works.”
        Jesus now has His rightful place in the Church today thanks to Luther.

        • “it was the RC Church who slipped into error by selling Indulgences, and erroneously teaching salvation through works”

          That is a caricature. And for the “salvation by works” comment, we know that “sola fidei” was theological novelty, taught by a man who would “burn the book of James” if he could. Then there’s the unworkable, fractious ecclesiology of Sola Scriptura, which has given us 30,000 plus and counting Christian “denominations”, most subscribing to “sola scriptura”, but relying on various creeds, confessions and synods as supplements.

          On the other hand, Martin Luther taught that marriage is a contract to be regulated by the state-and today the state marries two men.

          • reddog44

            DE-173, methinks you need a dose of Christian Charity with this rant you have just spewed. Nothing but subjective rhetoric.

            • You first. I’ve never quite figured out what causes you to come here with Protestant propaganda and expect that your views are unassailable.
              Noted that you are unprepared to respond, though.

              • reddog44

                So you are against dialogue and free speech as well. You fit the hypocrite mold well.

                • Who’s stopping you from posting?. This might be one of the freest forums on the internet.

                  Its a pretty poor try at diversion, but you still haven’t addressed the original post.

                • Objectivetruth

                  When you can’t answer a question or have a leg to stand on do you always resort to personal attacks?

            • Objectivetruth

              How is DE’s post a “rant?” As far as sola scriptura, can you show me where in the bible it states by “scripture alone?” It must be in the bible….for the words “sola scriptura” to be true.

        • sparrowhawk58

          The Protestant churches do not need to remain “in protest” of the original Church, once the errors (of human beings, not doctrine) have been addressed. Newman was right: the Church is historically not in protest against itself. Moreover, Protestants who do believe in the Real Presence and who also accept Tradition should admit the truth and officially rejoin the Church.

          • reddog44

            When the Roman Church admits its errors and declares Luther a Father of the Church will we even consider re-joining.

            • sparrowhawk58

              In what way does Luther (author of “The Jews and Their Lies”) qualify as a Father of the Church?

              • reddog44

                i can admit that Luther had his faults, just as Newman had his along with many corrupt popes.

                By qualifying as a Father of the Church, it is the simple fact that after 500 years the Catholic Church looks more like a Lutheran congregation than many Lutheran churches. The RC has accepted the chief tenant of Luther and that is “Salvation by Grace”, and as mentioned elsewhere, Jesus Christ is now the centre of the Church.

                • sparrowhawk58

                  1. I think you mean “tenet,” not “tenant.”
                  2. A lot of those corrupt popes have not been canonized.
                  3. It doesn’t matter what faults a person has if they receive the sacrament of penance. Did Luther receive the sacrament of penance after committing his sins? Or, did he reject that avenue of grace? Do Lutherans observe the sacrament of penance? If so, do they go to Catholic priests for absolution? Only Christ, acting through a priest, can absolve the sinner. If not, how is forgiveness via this sacrament achieved?
                  4. The center of the Catholic faith is the presence of Christ during the sacrifice of the mass(Real Presence in the Eucharist). Lutherans have a similar, but not identical, belief. Unless it is identical, then the mass in no way resembles the Lutheran service.
                  5. Ever since Holy Mass was instituted, by Christ, Christ has been the center of the Catholic faith (see #4). So: since the Last Supper.

                  Your statement about “the Catholic Church looking more like a Lutheran congregation than many Lutheran churches” is odd. I wonder how a practicing Lutheran would view that.

                  • reddog44

                    I will try to answer some of your concerns and questions, because I think you are sincere in your beliefs, even though you somewhat represent a Legalist.

                    Luther did receive the forgiveness of sins. End of debate!

                    #4 If you infer that the Lutheran Mass if it is not identical is ineffective, you are dead wrong. Would you go so far as to say then that Lutherans are NOT “Saved”?

                    #5 Christ is the centre of the Lutheran faith, and that was Luther’s whole intent from the beginning when the Catholic Church veered away from this teaching.

                    If Lutherans knew my thinking about the Catholic Church, I would probably be stoned, or something worse.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Which “Lutheran Church?” At last count, there are several that have splintered off from each other making up multiple Lutheran “churches.”

                    • I’ll ask my friend who went from the ELCA, to LMS, to the WELA
                      For those that don’t know,

                    • reddog44

                      The true Lutheran church, not the liberal version, which is similar to the Cafeteria Catholic church.

                    • There are cafeteria Catholics, but no Cafeteria Church.

                    • Luther is the center of the Lutheran Church, that’s why it is eponymous.
                      Then again, you have demonstrated that you presence here is insincere.

                    • sparrowhawk58

                      I am not debating this, but how can you say with certainty that Luther received forgiveness for his sins unless you are God?

                      I am not trying to be snide, only to say that God alone knows whether a person’s sins are forgiven, but here on this earth, the only way to receive forgiveness (if you’re a Catholic) is to receive absolution through penance, which is a sacrament. If a person is honest, sincere and remorseful, and if he goes to an ordained priest for that sacrament, then he will be told he is forgiven–not by man, but by God.

                      So if you say Luther’s sins were forgiven, you are really saying that he had a change of heart–perhaps on his deathbed?–recanted much of what he claimed that caused divisiveness, confessed this to a Catholic priest, and received absolution. This seems to be insider information. If Luther alone knew what he confessed, he took it to his grave. Likewise, the priest, bound by the seal of the confessional, took that conversation to HIS grave.

                      Whether or not you reject that scenario, you can’t KNOW that his sins were forgiven.

                      While no one can say that an entire denomination is “saved,” Lutherans are definitely Christians in communion with the Faith–though it is an imperfect communion, and full initiation into the True Church has not occurred. I am sure the Lutheran mass is effective for what it sets out to do. It is not, however, the Eucharist as Jesus instituted it.

                      From my understanding, Lutherans believe that the host and wine are Christ’s body and blood DURING the mass, so the True Presence is only temporary. Catholics believe that, during the consecration, the bread and wine change actually and permanently into the Body and Blood. In other words, if you have extra hosts left over after a Lutheran service, or extra wine, do they remain consecrated and have to be disposed of reverently (consumed or locked away) or are they kept and re-consecrated at a later mass, or disposed of (wine poured down the drain) in a way that you would treat ordinary bread and wine?

                      Catholics can’t do that to the actual Body and Blood of Jesus. Even the altar cloths that are used to clean the chalice can’t be washed in a washing machine–they have to be hand-washed and the used water has to be disposed of in an appropriate manner, because even a drop or particle of the Eucharist can’t be washed into the sewer. Yet I have heard Lutherans say that the wine is poured down the sink. YIKES! The Precious Blood? Would any Lutheran perform such a heinous act? I would hope not! But the wine and bread are no longer “really” Jesus, so that’s okay. Which means either the sacrament never occurred, hence no Real Presence, or it did occur and untold millions of Lutherans have been regularly desecrating Christ.

                      As for Father Martin, OSA’s teachings after the Church “veered away” from true intent–he was 100% right on a number of points. Selling indulgences is an example, probably the one that springs to mind most often. That was terribly corrupt! But earning indulgences is perfectly okay, and remains so today.(I do this on a regular basis.)That a corrupt clerical class was not reined in and effectively disciplined for running this profitable scam is a scandal. Fortunately, we had priests like Father Martin, OSA, who were willing to call a spade a spade and try to fix the problem. He was not alone. There were numerous churchmen who were horrified at some of the nonsense going on, and who elected to remain in the Church and promote reform from inside. They understood that sin ALWAYS springs from division, and they were determined not to create such division. I am sorry Luther chose to go down that road.

                      I think Martin Luther performed a very great service for the Church in bringing things to a head. There were a lot of attempts to clean things up, and until Luther went out on a limb, those attempts were not taken seriously. He is the reason there was a counter-reformation and he is the reason a lot of bad stuff is not continuing today.

                      However, he did also espouse ideas that could not and will never be incorporated into Church teaching (Sola Scriptura) and which actually were grave heresies. So, he can’t be an honorary Father of the Church, if that’s what you’re getting at.

                      The core of the Church has always remained true to the original teachings of Christ. We don’t have a continually revised/rewritten Creed, Scripture, Tradition. It is refined and sometimes explained more clearly, but please understand the difference between broken, sinful individuals who are corrupt and the institution, which continues to be led by the Holy Spirit. The Church, it has been said, is not a hotel for saints, it is a hospital for sinners.

                      I hope you are being facetious about the hostile reaction some of your Lutheran acquaintances would have if you discussed your opinions honestly! If there is one thing I have admired about a number of denominations, it is the openness to discussion and debate. I think that exists in the Roman Catholic Church, too, but unfortunately, a lot of people in our lifetime are not catechized very well, so they are just sharing uninformed opinions. I think there are efforts underway to correct this, but they have been greatly undermined by the attitude that all religions are equal. They are not.

                      I do think that there are a lot of holy, saintly Lutherans (Baptists, Presbyterians, Jews, Muslims, etc.) In fact, for Christmas, I gave my 17 year old Catholic nephew a copy of the book, “A Noble Treason,” about Sophie Scholl,who was a devout Lutheran. I told him he needed to read it for her example of true faith and courage. If you have not read it, I would highly recommend it. She died the death of a holy martyr and her story should inspire us all to heroism as followers of Christ.

                    • reddog44

                      Thank you for your thoughtful and expanded explanation. I cannot answer all your points as that would take considerable space and time.

                      But I will answer your point about forgiveness of sins, and I think you are wrong about Luther not knowing whether his sins were forgiven, because scripture makes it plain that Christ died on the cross for our sins. (His work is finished/competed) He told us what we need to do, but did not say the how, and this is where there is a divergence between Catholics and Protestants. We know our sins are forgiven because of what Christ has accomplished, while Catholics are never sure if they are going to heaven. This is a great theological question, that we, meaning both Catholic and Protestants struggle with.

                      We cannot be legalists and hit each other over the head with a theological concept. The truth of scripture must be sought.

                    • sparrowhawk58

                      I want to respond to your comment, but I also want to clarify that I am not trying to win you as a convert–I only want to explain Catholic teaching as it applies to a Catholic priest in grave error, Martin Luther, who resisted brotherly correction during his lifetime. So in the effort of seeking the Truth of Scripture, here are some thoughts:

                      1. Not everyone is saved for all time. Jesus plainly says that certain sins are unforgivable, in this world and the next.(Matthew 12:32). Presumably, a person who has real, but imperfect, faith could commit a sin and it would NOT be forgiven–without acknowledgement and remorse– even though Jesus died for us and our sins.

                      2. Rejecting Mt 12:32 would make either Jesus a liar or Scripture erroneous.

                      3. If Jesus died for all our sins, does that mean no one is in hell? Or does it mean that no one is in hell if they lived AFTER Christ died so they had the opportunity to accept Christ’s sacrifice? Does that mean righteous people who lived prior to Jesus are all in hell? Does it mean Christians who failed at following the message of Christ, but who were saved anyway, are all in heaven? Does this include baptized Christians like Adolph Hitler and Joe Stalin?

                      4. Father Martin OSA said that the “sinner’s Prayer” was sufficient to gain forgiveness of sins. But according to Lutherans who have explained this to me, remorse is not necessary, only acknowledgement that people can sin. So you can recite the prayer, kill ten people in cold blood, and rest assured you are still on the highway to heaven. I would think that some form of self-reflection, leading to remorse and then penance, would be necessary.Otherwise, what is to stop anyone from committing grave sins? Of course, we have a criminal justice system that can impose penalties. But the Sinner’s Prayer approach seems very convenient for people who wish to engage in adultery and only want to justify it, not reflect on it, repent, and change their behavior.

                      I can’t prove or disprove that Father Martin was forgiven by God because, as I said, only God knows. No one can know, except God. I do know that prior to Father Martin’s public life, there was over 1500 years of Church teaching that addressed questions of morality and penance. The Church has been kept free from error because that adherence to Scripture and Tradition has remained unbroken. A millennium and a half later, Teaching doesn’t suddenly and fundamentally change. If it does, it is a correction to what Christ handed on to his disciples–meaning He and they were already wrong.

                      I think the rift between Father Martin and the Church could have been avoided if a variety of different decisions had been made when answering his statements. But that’s not to say representatives of the Church are entirely accountable for failing to clearly explain to Father Martin what he should have been aware of. He was also a very headstrong man and did not like criticism. His lack of humility is too bad, because as I said before, it was necessary to clear up some of the issues with which he was concerned.

                      Gratefully, it is not too late for our brothers and sisters who remain in protest to pursue a full relationship with the Church founded by Christ on His rock, Peter.

                    • reddog44

                      I think dialogue with you is a difficult task, as no common ground can be achieved, and anything resembling a civil debate until you admit that there was (some) fault with the RC Church at the time of the Reformation. Scholarly books abound about abuses within the Church, even by many Catholic writers such as Jon M.Sweeney.

                      For you to even suggest that Luther’s sins were not forgiven is playing God and acting as judge, which really is out of your realm.
                      Cherry-picking scriptures does not work either, as the whole of scripture must be taken into account before making one verse doctrine, that is a task reserved for evangelical fundamentalists.

                      If true debate and any kind of resolution are to be achieved, mutual respect and acceptance of one another must be priority. Denial only works so long until the ultimate truth is revealed.

                    • sparrowhawk58

                      I don’t know how much more gentle with you I can be. You are truly testing my patience.

                      First, I did say outright that there were individuals within the clergy who were guilty of corrupt practices, and these needed to be addressed. Did you read my entire response, or are you “cherry-picking”? If every person in the Church were acting in a perfectly Christ-like manner, there would have been no need for the Reformation either inside or outside the Church. Either you are trying to twist my words, or you have some sort of attention-deficit.

                      As for the unforgivable sin, I didn’t change that verse. You can look it up. If you want to go around editing the words of Christ to reflect your own opinions, fine. But staying true to the Word–both as Jesus and as Scripture–is the point of the Catholic Church.

                      And I am a bit creeped out by the idea that Martin Luther is beyond any criticism and that he is sinless. Wow. You know, in some countries, it is a crime punishable by death to criticize Mohammad. This statement , plus the one you made earlier about fearing for your safety if Lutherans found out your opinions, is disturbing to me. And here I thought Lutherans were friendly people who sang great hymns and hosted picnics with delicious potato salad! My bad!

                      Martin Luther is not a god. Even if you think he is a god, other people don’t have to share your opinion.

                      My point is that no one can say his sins were forgiven. I don’t think you can seriously argue that on any level. I have never even heard that said about our greatest saints. Even Joan of Arc refused to make such a claim to the Inquisitors! She just said she hoped to be in a state of grace. I think you could legitimately say you pray for Luther’s sins to be forgiven, but you DON’T know. And if Luther went around telling people that they can know–well, what hubris, shame on him, good riddance.

                      As for true debate, I’m trying to explain to you what Catholics believe, and there is no compromise on that. Changing one’s approach to doctrine leads to heresy. If you want to explain to me why Lutherans accept certain ideas, then please stick to the points of this discussion and do so cogently, without throwing stones.

                      If there are ANY Lutherans reading this thread who CAN accurately explain Lutheran beliefs in the context of this discussion, now would be the time to chime in. Thanks.

                    • reddog44

                      You are impossible to dialogue with as you read too much into something or else misconstrue the point. I never said Martin Luther was sinless, that is a conjecture on your part. So please pay closer attention. In fact in our Liturgy, we confess, ” I a poor miserable sinner”, so where this sinless part came is beyond me.

                      And my “fearing for my safety” was hyperbole, but i guess that is too profound for you to understand.

                      Please do not post any more comments, your are the wrong person to engage in meaningful dialogue.

                    • sparrowhawk58

                      I didn’t mean to imply that he was born sinless or remained so throughout his life, only that you knowing his sins were totally forgiven is pretty extreme.You are absolutely convinced his sins were forgiven. I’m saying you DON’T KNOW. And since I answered your facetious comment with another facetious comment, clearly I thought we were communicating on the same level. I will try to be more concrete.

                      And no, there is no meaningful dialogue unless specific points are answered respectfully. If you want to engage by doing that, fine. If you would prefer to bow out of further conversation, that’s okay too.

                    • He tests your patience because that’s his objective.

                • Objectivetruth

                  Why did Luther eliminate the book of James from the bible? Where did Luther get the authority from to subtract from holy scripture, himself?

                  • reddog44

                    Now that’s an outright lie, Luther questioned the book of James, but it is still in the Protestant canon. Come to my house and we will look in my Bible to verify this.

                    Your credibility is slipping by the minute.

                    • “I would burn the book of James, if I could”.

                      -Martin Luther.

                      seriously dude, you need a new horse for your wagon.

                    • reddog44

                      But did he actually burn it? No! You are sucking slough water my friend.

                    • He burned it in the fire of contempt.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Which Protestant canon? Define “Protestant canon?”

                • So we blow off Luther’s faults but not Tetzels. Interesting.

            • Wow. First of all, the title I think you are reaching for is “Doctor of the Church”. Of course, Luther might be the father of same sex pseudonogamy.
              I see nothing in Luther’s writing that indicates he wanted anything to do with the Catholic Church, so why impose the association on him post mortem. There he lies, he can do no other.

        • Objectivetruth

          Incorrect.

          Luther was a heretic. Where did he get the authority from to start his own Church? Did he get that authority directly from Christ himself? Can you show me where he was giving the keys to the kingdom, the ability to “bind and loose?” Can you show me where Luther had been given divine infallibility when it came to interpreting scripture, and that he was right and the Catholic Church was wrong? Show me how Luther had perfect interpretation of scripture, and Calvin, Zwingli, Wesley, Knox, Graham do not, because you do realize they all disagree (and 30,000 other Protestant faiths) with Luther and each other in interpreting scripture?

          You do know where the teaching of the Real Presence comes from, don’t you?

          • reddog44

            Your knowledge of Luther is quite evident as he did not want to start his own church, and never wanted his followers to be called by his name. The real reason is that the Roman Church was unwilling to listen to correction of the abuses at the time. Divine infallibility cannot be found anywhere in scripture, and is based on an obscure passage of bind and loose.You read too much into that, but I see it is useless arguing with you, so we will have to make a divine appointment, sometime in the future to clarify all your misconceptions.

            • Objectivetruth

              “Divine infallibility cannot be found anywhere in scripture, and is based on an obscure passage of bind and loose.You read too much into that, ”

              So you’re deciding which passages in scripture I’m reading “too much into that,”? Do you see right there in that statement sola scriptura is a fraud?

              Do you know the history of the bible? How it was put together by four Catholic councils in the late fourth century? That basically all the New Testament is is Catholic oral Tradition put to parchment? That no gospels were written down until 30 years after Christ’s Ressurection?

            • “Your knowledge of Luther is quite evident as he did not want to start his own church, and never wanted his followers to be called by his name.”
              You shall know them by their fruits (not their intentions).

        • Objectivetruth

          “Luther’s teaching are widely preached from Catholic pulpits.”

          Lie much?

          I’ve been going to Catholic Mass several times a week for 52 years. The once or twice I ever heard Luther’s name or his “teachings” from the ambow was in reference to Luther’s heresy or error.

          Never, ever have I heard a Catholic priest say “it is by grace we are saved, not by works.”

          • reddog44

            Just to show how lacking in knowledge of the scriptures you really are.

            • Objectivetruth

              This is the best you’ve got?

              You’ve ran out of bullet points (lies) from your Chick Publications anti Catholic pamphlet you picked up at the bus station, haven’t you?

              • reddog44

                You’ve convinced me never to change to the Catholic Church, and for that reason I am glad you were born. The abrasivenessl that exists in the RC church shows it has many faults and is certainly not perfect, and the one true Church.

                • Objectivetruth

                  Be honest.

                  You didn’t come here to be converted……but only to ignorantly attack.

                • Oh please, this isn’t the first time you visited here and exhibited what I believe used to be called “a hardened heart”.

                • slainte

                  You previously disclosed that you are in a mixed marriage (presumably to a Catholic), will you then raise your children as Catholics?

                  • reddog44

                    Actually that is none of your business, and it is impolite to even ask the question.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Faux indignation. You really don’t answer any questions, do you?

                    • reddog44

                      Does anybody on this thread answer questions in a respectful way. I repeat it is none of your business and you would do well to be more considerate.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Pot…..meet kettle…..

                      So what is it you’re looking to accomplish? Quite frankly, all I see in your posts are falsities and provocation. For example:

                      “The Reformation did not contradict early Church teachings, it was the RC Church who slipped into error by selling Indulgences, and erroneously teaching salvation through works, and not by what Jesus did on the cross. The Catholic Church has finally realized this error and corrected itself as today Luther’s teaching are widely preached from Catholic pulpits.”

                      Then when you’re confronted on your untruths such as these and asked a question you either ignore the question, or claim your delicate feelings were hurt.

                      You do understand you’re on a orthodox Catholic website? Are you here just to poke with a sharp stick? I and others can easily pick up on whether a Lutheran is here with a sincere desire to discuss Catholic Church teaching, or a Lutheran here to spew the “same ol, same ol” falsities about the Catholic Church. The Protestant with a sincere and open mind here to discuss Catholic teaching and doctrine is eagerly welcomed here and intellectually engaged. Quite frankly reddog, I have yet to see you fall in to that category.

                    • reddog44

                      I guess objective, if any kind of civil debate is to take place your mud-slinging has to stop as well. If the RC cannot humbly admit some of its faults, dialogue will be fruitless. Denial only works so long until the truth is ultimately revealed, and many scholars have a lot to contribute to what actually happened historically.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      “If the RC cannot humbly admit some of its faults, dialogue will be fruitless.”

                      What “faults” do you speak of? If you bring up the selling of indulgences, the Church has condemned that repeatedly in history.

                      But I’ve asked and challenged you many times where Luther received the authority from Christ to attack and change doctrine. And you have ignored this simple question. And many scholars have brought up this issue, and quite frankly where the dialogue should begin. I can show you where Christ gave Peter the authority to start a Church, which today is the Catholic Church. But I can’t find anywhere where Christ gave a scrupulous German monk the Keys to the Kingdom and the ability to change doctrine 1500 years after His Ascension.

                    • reddog44

                      So they did admit it was wrong to sell indulgences? Point well taken. Luther was very reluctant to separate from Rome, but the stubbornness of the Papacy forced his hand. His prayer was: “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

                      So you see he cried out to God, and if God answers prayers, his was answered.Get it?

                      Now go ahead and dissect that to a thousand pieces, as is your custom.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      “So you see he cried out to God, and if God answers prayers, his was answered.Get it?”

                      So God told Luther the doctrine of purgatory was false?

                    • reddog44

                      And rightly so, there is NO concrete evidence for purgatory, only what that dreamer Dante saw in his dreams.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Hmmmmm…..

                      What “concrete evidence” are you looking for?

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Here ya go RD, a nice article on purgatory geared towards Protestants. Enjoy!:

                      http://www.catholic.com/tracts/purgatory

                    • Objectivetruth

                      So God did directly tell Luther to change Catholic doctrine. Check. I just wanted to clarify that.

                      Interestingly, Mohammed claimed God told him the same thing, to change doctrine.

                    • slainte

                      “…Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God…” Gospel of St. Matthew 5:9

                      Let those who dialogue on behalf of our respective traditions take each doctrine that divides us…one at a time…and find common ground. Reconciliation demands patience and forbearance.

                    • reddog44

                      Thank you!

                    • Objectivetruth

                      From St. Ignatius of Antioch:

                      ““But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils. See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.”

                      From St. Augustine of Hipo:

                      “Roma locuta est, causa finite est.”

                      These men did not shy from an unabashed defense of the faith, Slainte. Evangelization sometimes is sloppy, uncomfortable, challenging. Like you, I am of Irish descent. And as you’ve probably heard the Irish saying, the Holy Spirit is more like a sloppy, spitting goose, not a dove.

                      My prayer is reddog and all Protestants will come back home to the fullness of the Truth of Christ in the Catholic Church. I say this not with hubris and triumphantalism, but with love.

                      But please…..don’t compare our “traditions” with any sense of equality. Luther was a heretic, and as a Catholic monk did Christ and His Church no service. Reddog is an adult on a journey seeking the Truth, do not deny him that, whether he’s ready to hear that Truth or not.

                      Happy New Year, Slainte! I’m hoping to visit count Mayo soon, with my Irish brood. This is officially my last post on Crisis, New Years resolution! The best to you and DE 173, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both of your postings.

                    • slainte

                      The very best of luck to you OT!…I have learned much from our exchanges.

                      It’s awesome that you are going to Ireland…when you visit County Mayo don’t forget Achill…the home of Grace O’Malley, pirate queen, who dared to stand her ground and make demands on Queen Elizabeth I….and Rosserk Friary dating back to the 1100s burned on order of Elizabeth I…and of course, Ashford Castle in Cong where “The Quiet Man” was filmed and the breathtaking mountains of neighboring Maam Cross in Co. Galway.

                      Have fun walking the ground where your ancestors toiled and introducing your children to their roots.

                      Slán abhaile OT!

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Back at ya , Slainte!

                      I believe there are horse thieves in my family Irish ancestors. I believe our emigration to the coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvania was our only option…..! There are “Molly Maguires” in my ancestry!

                      Thanks again!

                    • slainte

                      For your Information OT…there’s a big sign at the entrance of the town of Ballina, County Mayo which proclaims its “sister city” as Scranton, Pennsylvania.

                      As my ancestors (and those of most Irish neighbors) emigrated to New York, Chicago, or England…I never fully understood how Scranton received that honor. Maybe Ballina was honoring your ancestors.

                      By the way, Ballina is the town from whence came Father Peyton, the Rosary Priest who made famous the phrase…the family that prays together, stays together.

                      Have fun. 🙂

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Beautiful…….

                      God bless and Pax.

                    • And who are you to judge?

                    • slainte

                      I am Catholic; my husband Episcopalian. When we received special dispensation to marry in the Catholic Church, he was obliged to promise to use best efforts to raise our children Catholic.

                      If you are protestant and you married a Catholic in the Catholic Church, you too would have been required to make this commitment.

                      As you take issue with Catholicism and appear to be a devoted protestant, I am perplexed at how you managed this important commitment.

                      The foregoing assumes, of course, that you married a Catholic in the Catholic Church…if I am mistaken, mea culpa.

                    • reddog44

                      I think you may be one of the more sincere people on this thread, and would somewhat understand what is involved in a mixed marriage? Yes, we did make that commitment, but I was under no obligation to change to RC, or to adhere to any of Catholicism dogmas. Religious freedom was not tampered with in any way.

                      I am a devoted, active Lutheran, who only disagrees with certain points in Catholic theology. For your benefit, the main foundational doctrines are very much similar, such as the full divinity and humanity of Jesus, the Incarnation, the Trinity, the Real Presence, creation etc.

                      I should point out as well in particular that it is the only our two denominations that agree on Abortion, Same-sex marriage, and the ordination of woman. Your husbands Episcopalian/Anglican church cannot even claim that agreement. So you see, we are not that much different from Catholics, but remember there is disagreement on minor or secondary beliefs, which if you have ever listened to Bishop Fulton Sheen, he did allude to a hierarchy of beliefs as well.

                      Hope that answers some of your questions/concerns, as there has been a lot of bashing on both sides of this debate, which is not at all very God pleasing.

                    • slainte

                      Reddog, as brother Christians we are most like Christ when we seek, with humility, to unify the broken, to raise up the fallen, and to forgive those who have trespassed against us.

                      The Lutheran and Catholic Churches have, through dialogue, engaged the process of healing the wounds of the 16th century. The fruit of those efforts was the October 1999 Joint Declaration on the issue of Justification.

                      The continued separation of our faith traditions reinforces division which is not of Christ. Blessed are the meek who set aside the need to be right in favor of being restored in Christ as a single Church bound together in its singular determination to worship the one Triune God.

                      Pax tecum brother Christian. May we soon be united as one body worshipping together with past divisions rejected.

                      Happy New Year reddog44 and may Christ’s peace guide you in 2015.

                    • reddog44

                      Thank you for your considerate and polite post, and I agree with you 100%. We must dialogue in good faith, admitting our faults and sins of the past, and moving forward to trust each other more fully.

                      There has been significant progress in dialogue in just the past few years, including Australia, which has a paper out about the discussions that took place between 2008 and 2011.

                      In Canada as well, discussions have just recently begun with certain parts of the Catholic Church.

                      You must bear in mind, that the particular brand of Lutheranism I represent is from the conservative side, and if you understand conservatives, they can be very hard headed. We maintain a strict adherence to scripture, and the Word of God, and believe strongly in its inerrancy. We are unlike our fellow Lutherans from the liberal side, who are much more willing to compromise their beliefs, and as we say, jump into bed at the first opportunity without serious thought.

                      A point that should be considered and that is vital to the survival of Christianity, is that we are the only major denomination that agrees with the RC on three vital issues facing the Church today. And that is abortion, same-sex marriage, and women’s ordination. I think we need to bear in mind how important these issues are to the survival of Christianity.

                      I too wish you a Happy New Year!

                    • Objectivetruth

                      “favor of being restored in Christ as a single Church bound together in its determination to worship the one Triune God.”

                      And that “single Church”, Slainte, as you well know, is the bark of Peter, the Catholic Church.

                      I respect your kind, “molasses attracts better” approach, Slainte. But reddog is an adult, and Christian charity and love is to speak the Truth no matter how uncomfortable to some it may be. And that Truth is Christ only has one Fullness of His Truths, the Catholic Church, and lovingly we must proclaim this with great joy to our Protestant brothers and sisters. As in John 6, Christ unabashedly and unashamedly proclaimed His Truth on the Eucharist. And many stopped following Him that day. We should never be lukewarm and shy from proclaiming the Catholic Church as the one true Church started by Christ Himself. Anything less is uncharitable, and insults the Martyrs who came before us.

                    • slainte

                      Objectivetruth,

                      I proclaim as a Catholic that the totality of Truth resides in the Catholic Church; and I pray that, with God’s grace, our separated brethren may be restored to the Catholic Church… because it is the will of God that unity shall prevail over division.

                      Recall that Our Lord Jesus spoke the Sermon on the Mount in dulcet tones as He proclaimed the Beatitudes and affirmed the virtues of charity, humility, and fraternal love. He taught transformation of the inner person and recognition of the dignity of all God’s peoples. Those whom God loves…He seeks to restore to Himself through the Church He created.

                      Consider Our Lord’s Words and how they should guide us as Catholics:

                      “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

                      Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

                      Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

                      Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
                      for they shall be satisfied.

                      Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

                      Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

                      Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

                      Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

                      Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10

                      Catholicism proclaims the Beatitudes….I believe the Lutherans do as well. We share much in common….most importantly we recognize Our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer of the world.

                      Catholics and Lutherans should continue to dialogue….taking each and every issue that divides us, one at a time, and work through those differences in good faith…confident that Our Lord wants us to be united and that Truth will prevail. What God wants shall come to pass.

                      ObjectiveTruth, you have consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to evangelizing God’s Word and proclaiming the truth of Catholicism. I believe that the New Evangelization, of which you are an integral supporter, is meant to embrace the whole world and in particular to heal the festering wounds which have divided us Catholics from other Christians. Your continued support in this worthy endeavor is very much needed…part of that task includes making peace with those with whom one may be at odds. “Blessed are the peacemakers…”.

                      I wish you OT, and your family, a happy and joyful New Year rich in Christ’s blessings.

                    • How about the words He used in the temple? Or when he called Peter “Satan”?

                      This is not redddog44’s first episode of defiant and obstinate antagonism.

                    • slainte

                      DE, I merely relied on the following passage for guidance:

                      “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

                      Happy New Year!

        • Objectivetruth

          “The Reformation did not contradict early Church teachings”

          Once again……incorrect.

          The “Reformers” (depending by who/what you mean by reformers?Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, Wesley?) all for the most part refuted the Mass as true sacrifice. Their differing beliefs gravely contradicted the early Church teachings:

          The Early Church Fathers believed and taught that the Mass was a true sacrifice. It was not a new sacrifice but a participation in the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross. They understood that there are two parts to a sacrifice, the slaying of the victim and the offering up of the fruits. The Mass is the second part. This was believed and taught by all the Fathers: Cyprian, Polycarp, Clement, Ignatius of Antioch, etc.

          Which begs the question: who knew more of Christ’s teachings and intentions? Those taught by His apostles, the Church Fathers, or men that lived 1500 years after Christ ascended to heaven (Protestant Revolters?)

    • “This type of comment does nothing to foster Christian charity”

      I’ll consider the merit of this complaint after I cease hearing the the phrase “wh*re of Babylon” .

    • Jacqueleen

      My hat is tipped to Cardinal Newman. He is the first to speak the truth and at the same time give back to the Protestants what they dish out constantly to Catholics. For instance, Catholicism is paganism. You worship Mary and Saints. Your doctrine is full of errors. And, the list goes on. I think Protestants are taught to criticize and condemn Catholics as part of their evangelization program. Too bad that they do not consider us brothers an sisters in Christ Jesus.

      • reddog44

        You are correct in your assessment about the critical nature of Protestants, and it is very unfortunate, but they are not alone in tossing vitriol and bias against christian brothers and sisters. As one in a mixed marriage, I receive this all the time from the Catholic side, sometimes even from family members who should know better. Words can be very hurtful and build up a lot of resentment towards other faiths.

        We all have failed miserably in showing Christian charity, and we all need to acknowledge that and repent of it. If the world is to see a loving forgiving Christ, we should be the first to show the loving face of Jesus to a hurting world. As it is, all that unbelievers see is hatred and jealousy.

        My prayer is that this nonsense will stop.

        • Jacqueleen

          Amen.

        • “The Reformation did not contradict early Church teachings, it was the RC Church who slipped into error by selling Indulgences, and erroneously teaching salvation through works, and not by what Jesus did on the cross.”

          You mean nonsense like this?

          • reddog44

            As I mentioned earlier, I am glad you were born, and thank God for the Reformation!

            • Actually, you made that statement to Objectivetruth.

            • Objectivetruth

              You’ve probably observed reddog the continued emptying of mainline Protestant groups. Lutheran, Presbyterian, episcopalian, etc. are all bleeding members daily, counting down to nothingness. The further Protestantism tangents from the Truths of Christ with acceptance of contraception, abortion, gay marriage the quicker ride to oblivion. I’ve read of an episcopalian bishop basically teaching last Easter that belief in the Ressurection is optional.

              You must accept the fact reddog that by its very nature Protestantism will eventually disappear and become only a footnote in history. This is not Catholic hubris or triumphantalism, but only a result of Christ’s prayer that “we all be one.” And that prayer will only be answered in the only Church founded by Christ, the Catholic Church.

              Come home to the Catholic Church, reddog. You were guided here by the Holy Spirit.

              • reddog44

                You are totally wrong in all your assumptions, and yes time will tell the true test of truth. And as mentioned, now that the RC has incorporated most of Luther’s requests, there is some hope for the Catholic Church.

                • Objectivetruth

                  Question: how do you know Luther was right and the Catholic Church is wrong? My point is, Luther must have received some direction or authority personally from Christ Himself to cause such dramatic doctrinal changes, correct? It’s Christ’s Church and He is the head, so He must have met or spoken to Luther personally to give instruction. where did this happen?

                  So how did Luther get his authority from Jesus to correct the erroneous Catholic Church?

        • Now I get it. You can’t heap your scorn on your family, so you vent on us. Oh well, if it makes you feel better, we’ll take it, but not without disputation.

          • reddog44

            “The Peace of Christ”! to you.

            • It may be blasphemy, or something else, but to use the name of God in an expression of contempt is really despicable.

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