February 2005 - QA

Q & A February 2005

Question 70 - Question on Moses and Genesis

Question 69 - Was Vassula Ryden Condemned by the Church?

Question 68 - Is JPII a valid Pope: Canon 188.4

Question 67 - Papal authority

Question 66 - Was the Mass Invented in 1054?

Question 65 - The Catholic Answer

Question 64 - Are the Canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council Valid?

Question 63 - Evolution and reexamining Catholicism

Question 62 - What does it literally mean that God will create a new heaven and earth?

Question 61 - Is God free?

Question 60 - Looking to come home

Question 59 - Are we going to be judged twice?

Question 58 - Gift of Tongues (Glossolalia)

Question 57 - Concerning baptism, infants, and sanctifying grace

Question 56 - Did the early Church believe that Mary was their Mother?

Question 55 - Catechesis of the good shepherd

Question 54 - Are the Canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council Valid?

Question 53 - Reformed Friend's Question About Celibacy

Question 52 - Can the Feminine "Rock" be the Masculine Peter?

Question 51 - On Question 9 - Baptism of Desire

Question 50 - Predestination and Free Will

Question 49 - Baptism of Desire Infallible, Part II

Question 48 - Trent and Desire

Question 47 - Baptism of Desire Infallible

Question 46 - A Coptic Genesis?

Question 45 - Jesus' human knowledge

Question 44 - Baptism by Desire revisited

Question 43 - Obeying Our Lady's Requests

Question 42 - Regnum Christi

Question 41 - CAI Statement on Obedience, Disagreement and The Pope

Question 40 - Tsunami and Spinning

Question 39 - Is Fatima Relevant for Today? Part II

Question 38 - Sr. Lucia and Consecration cover up

Question 37 - Did Sr. Lucia Really Deny that the 1984 Consecration was Valid?

Question 36 - Not By Faith Alone: Quick question

Question 35 - Fatima

Question 34 - CBR proves earth is moving, Part II

Question 33 - CBR proves earth is moving

Question 32 - Geocentrism Disproved by Red Shift/Blue Shift Phenomenon, Part III

Question 31 - Geocentrism Disproved by Red Shift/Blue Shift Phenomenon, Part II

Question 30 - Geocentrism Disproved by Red Shift/Blue Shift Phenomenon

Question 29 - Can you help find good Catholic science material for homeschoolers?

Question 28 - Keating debate on geocentrism

Question 27 - Is there a difference between Justification and Salvation?

Question 26 - Is Fatima Relevant for Today?

Question 25 - Speed of Starlight

Question 24 - How Does one understand Geocentrism?

Question 23 - Prophetic Cessation

Question 22 - Catholic or Public School?

Question 21 - Did Mary experience pain during childbirth?

Question 20 - Heliocentrism $1000 challenge

Question 19 - The meaning of "sacrifice"

Question 18 - Age of Earth/Universe

Question 17 - Accusations against Bishop Loverde

Question 16 - Kneeling for Communion

Question 15 - Faster than the speed of light?

Question 14 - A Few Questions

Question 13 - Anger as a sin, Part II

Question 12 - Mary did not know men -- eginosken

Question 11 - Question on Antipopes

Question 10 - Calvary Chapel

Question 9 - Baptism of Desire

Question 8 - The role of women

Question 7 - Christ's punishment

Question 6 - Anger as a sin

Question 5 - How should we interpret Matthew 6:33?

Question 4 - Substitutionary Atonement

Question 3 - Quake and Earth's rotation

Question 2 - Does Quantum Mechanics Portray a Chance Universe?

Question 1 - Validity of SSPX Confession, Part II

Question 70- Question on Moses and Genesis

Robert-
I made a statement in Bible Study that Moses wrote the book of Genesis, and our deacon corrected me with the following:

Clarification: we do not believe that Moses wrote any of the Pentateuch.

Is that Church teaching ? My understanding is that even if someone rejects the decisions of the PBC, that the Church does not teach his claim.

R. Sungenis: Mr. Mussel, the present Pontifical Biblical Commission holds no authority over what Catholics can or should believe, because it, as of 1970 under the decision of Pope Paul VI, was made into merely an advisory are of the magisterium, and its authority over what Catholics believe was rescinded. Therefore, nothing of what is to be believed as a matter of faith can be authoritatively based on what the present PBC says.

Previous to 1970, of course, the PBC did hold such authoritative power. As such, in their decree on the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, they affirmed Moses as the writer, with only a few qualifications. Here is what they stated in 1906 (and which has not been rescinded by any Catholic magisterial authority):

1997 Question 1. Whether the arguments accumulated by critics to impugn the Mosaic authenticity of the Sacred Books, which are designated by the name of Pentateuch, are of such weight that, in spite of the very many indications of both Testaments taken together, the continuous conviction of the Jewish people, also the unbroken tradition of the Church in addition to the internal evidences drawn from the text itself, they justify affirming that these books were not written by Moses, but were composed for the most part from sources later than the time of Moses? Reply: No.

1998 Question 2. Whether the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch necessarily demands such a redaction of the whole work that it must be held absolutely that Moses wrote all and each book with his own hand, or dictated them to copyists; or, whether also the hypothesis can be permitted of those who think that the work was conceived by him under the influence of divine inspiration, and was committed to another or several to be put into writing, but in such manner that they rendered his thought faithfully, wrote nothing contrary to his wish, omitted nothing; and, finally, when the work was composed in this way, approved by Moses as its chief and inspired author, it was published under his name. Reply: No, for the first part; yes, for the second.

1999 Question 3. Whether without prejudice to the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch it can be granted that Moses for the composition of the work made use of sources, namely written documents or oral tradition, from which, according to the peculiar goal set before him, and under -the influence of divine inspiration, he made some borrowings, and these, arranged for word according to sense or amplified, he inserted into the work itself? Reply: Yes.

2000 Question 4. Whether, safeguarding substantially the Mosaic authenticity and the integrity of the Pentateuch, it can be admitted that in such a long course of ages it underwent some modifications, for example: additions made after the death of Moses, or by an inspired author, or glosses and explanations inserted in the texts, certain words and forms of the antiquated language translated into more modern language; finally false readings to be ascribed to the errors of copyists, which should be examined and passed upon according to the norms of textual criticism. Reply: Yes, the judgment of the Church being maintained. END

Incidentally, the JEPD theory of Julius Wellhausen (liberal Protestant) is probably what your "deacon" is using to deny Mosaic authorship. Not only has this theory NEVER been officially accepted by the Catholic Church, but it has a formidable opponent. Please consult the work we have put on our website titled "The Toledoth's of Genesis." You can find it at:

<http://www.catholicintl.com/catholicissues/jepd1.htm>

If you are interested in further study, I suggest you get the book "The Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch" by William Henry Green (Baker, 1978). Pages 31-58 have an extensive scholarly foundation for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.
God be with you.

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Question 69- Was Vassula Ryden Condemned by the Church?

Dear CAI:
I read with interest an article that you are currently making available on your website by Fr Peter Joseph entitled "Apparitions and Private Revelations: True and False". In this article, Fr Joseph makes some comments with regards to an alleged seer Vassula Ryden, viz:

"Some individuals have been pronounced against by name, e.g., Vassula Ryden, and the Little Pebble, William Kamm. Vassula has been condemned twice by the Holy Office (the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), on the grounds that her revelations do not come from God, and because they contain errors against the Faith."

Now, the purpose of me writing this short email is not to start any kind of dispute on this matter, especially considering you did not write this article and so you have nothing to defend in the first place. Rather, the purpose is to bring to your attention some information that I have gathered that may suggest that Fr Joseph's comments cited above are not entirely accurate. And considering you are currently hosting this article, I thought you may be interested?

I wish to make it clear that I am not making a personal judgment for or against the validity of Vassula's messages. That is not the purpose of my email. My purpose is to maybe provide you and Fr Joseph (I don't have his email?) with some facts which I have discovered. If you have information to the contrary then I would welcome such correction.

I have discovered on Vassula's website (www.tlig.org) an extract from an interview between Niels Christian Hvidt and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger which was published in 30Giorni, No.1, January 1999 http://www.tlig.org/ratzfull.html.

During the interview, Mr Hvidt asks Cardinal Ratzinger:

"This last question could be a little embarrassing. It regards a contemporary prophetic figure - the Greek Orthodox Vassula Ryden. She is considered by many faithful, and by many theologians, priests and bishops of the Catholic Church to be a messenger of Christ. Her messages, which have been translated into 34 languages since 1991, are known throughout the world. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has, however, declared negative on the issue. The 1995 Notification on the obscure points as well as the positive aspects of her writings was interpreted by some commentators as a condemnation. Is that the case?"

Cardinal Ratzinger replied:

"You have touched on a very problematical issue. No, the Notification is a warning, not a condemnation. From the strictly procedural point of view, no person may be condemned without a trial and without being given the opportunity to air their views first. What we say is that there are many things which are not clear. There are some debatable apocalyptic elements and ecclesiological aspects which are not clear. Her writings contain many good things but the grain and the chaff are mixed up. That is why we invited Catholic faithful to view it all with a prudent eye and to measure it by the yardstick of the constant faith of the Church."

Mr Hvidt continues:

"Is the procedure to clarify the question continuing?"

Cardinal Ratzinger then replied:

"Yes, and during the clarification process the faithful must be prudent, maintaining a discerning attitude. There is no doubt that there is an evolution in the writings which does not yet seem to have concluded. We must remember that being able to set oneself up as the word and image of interior contact with God, even in the case of authentic mysticism, always depends on the possibilities of the human soul and its limitations. Unlimited trust should only be placed in the real Word of the Revelation that we encounter in the faith transmitted by the Church."

As can be seen, it appears Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ("CDF") have not condemned Vassula as claimed by Fr Joseph and cannot do such until Vassula is given the opportunity to air her views during a clarification process. The Cardinal has merely stated that during this time of clarification Vassula's messages be prudently viewed with a discerning attitude measured against the constant faith of the Church.

And it is worth noting that this clarification process did begin in July 2000 when Vassula submitted her messages to Cardinal Ratzinger and the CDF for further study and a chance to respond to the CDF's reservations expressed in the Notification of 6 October 1995. In April 2002, the CDF replied to Vassula granting her request and submitted five questions for Vassula to answer. In June 2002, Vassula answered the CDF's five questions as part of the clarification process. The Cardinal then requested that Vassula publish the correspondence (which can be found in full at http://www.tlig.org/cdf.html).
I am not aware of any further published correspondence in relation to this clarification process and I assume it is still continuing?

Therefore, while Fr Joseph's views on the bona fides of Vassula's messages may be true, I believe that it is inaccurate to label her messages as condemned by the Catholic Church at this stage. Apparently (as I cannot personally recommend it as I have never read it), a good book for Fr Joseph to read on Vassula is a book written by the famous Fr Rene Laurentin called "When God Gives a Sign" which answers all the theological reservations posed in the Notifications referred to by Fr Joseph.

Anyway, that's about all I have to say. Again, although I would be interested in any comments you may have, this email was not written in any attempt to stir up controversy or to make any negative insinuations against you or Fr Joseph.
God's peace
Daniel

M. Forrest: Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your letter. I agree with you that Fr. Joseph overstated things by writing that Vassula was "condemned". However, I do agree with Fr. Joseph regarding the fixation on private revelations in these days (no intended inference here as to whether I think you also agree with Fr. Joseph on this part or not). I am concerned that Christ's words in Matthew 12:39 may apply: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet." Large numbers of people go from "healing Mass" to "healing Mass"...in spite of the fact that they never seem to be healed of anything. These same people seem to think nothing of spending all kinds of money repeatedly flying all over the country and the world in order to have an "experience" at this or that unauthenticated site, or to see some purported visionary.

Of course, this is not to say that absolutely none of it is authentic, but one has to wonder why so many are seeking far and wide after such signs and "experiences" when Christ Himself resides in parishes and chapels across the world...the One Who is the source and summit of our faith...and when there are verified, safe apparition sites/seers so readily available (Fatima, Lourdes, Knock, etc.) We have His own Word at our disposal. We have the lives of the Saints. We have the Councils, the Catechism and more. We have enough to last hundreds and hundreds of lifetimes without posing any risk. Yet, many seem to run right for the fence (or sometimes over it?), rather than staying within the bounds of the safe playground established by our Mother, the Church.

Finally, in this day and age, wherein the Vatican has adapted a very liberal, accepting posture toward the world, other religions, etc, I think wisdom and prudence would dictate that, if anything, we should AMPLIFY the implications of such Vatican warnings, rather than look for ways to mitigate them. There seems to be very little that is rejected as unacceptable these days.
In my opinion, until such time as the Church tells us that Vassula's writings are perfectly safe, we ought to view them very skeptically, as potentially dangerous, if we bother to view them at all. 98% or 99% safe is just not good enough. The Adversary works most effectively in that little 1-2%.

God bless,
Michael Forrest
Personnel Director

P.S. Here are a couple of other things I came across. I thought you might be interested in them as well.

<http://www.ewtn.com/library/NEWAGE/VASSULA.TXT>
<http://mypage.bluewin.ch/cafarus/tlignotificationsreTLIG.htm>
<http://www.sffaith.com/ed/letters/2004letters/0406lett.htm>

On December 15, 1996, false seer and Jesus impersonator Vassula Ryden made an appearance here in San Francisco. At that time, Archbishop William Levada published in "Sunday to Sunday" the following announcement: "The Vatican has affirmed last year's warning to Catholics about information put forth by Vassula Ryden, an Orthodox Christian calling herself a 'Mystic from Switzerland'.... In May, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said again: Catholics should not consider Ms. Ryden's messages as divine revelations but as personal meditations. The meditations contain elements that are negative in the light of Church doctrine. The faithful are asked to preserve the purity of faith by not relying on presumed revelations but by following the Word of God and the directives of the Church's teaching authority.

"The 1995 statement about Ms. Ryden," Archbishop Levada continued, "said her writings contained several doctrinal errors including ambiguity and confusion about the Trinity. It also said Ms. Ryden was creating ecumenical confusion by receiving Catholic sacraments against the rules of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches."

Archbishop Levada's caution is still relevant, since Vassula Ryden appeared again in San Francisco on May 21. Those Catholics curious about Vassula can see for themselves the nature of her bizarre actions and "messages" by visiting her websites at www.vassula.org or www.tlig.us. Official Vatican documents and statements by bishops opposed to the Vassula phenomena can be found by searching for "Vassula" on www.google.com.
As Cardinal Ratzinger stated, Catholics should be "following the Word of God and the directives of the Church's teaching authority," instead of running after and being deceived and fleeced by phony seers.

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Question 68- Is JPII a valid Pope: Canon 188.4

Mario: Please tell me then what Canon 188.4 means. It reads: "188: Any office becomes vacant UPON THE FACT and WITHOUT ANY DECLARATION by TACIT RESIGNATION recognized BY THE LAW ITSELF if a cleric: (4) publicly defects from the Catholic faith."

For the record, YOUR argument was that "there is no ipso facto issue here" and that "The only way Karol Wojtyla would have been considered a defector from the faith, as you put it, is by a canonical court of law." The text of Canon 188.4 *plainly* disproves you on both counts. It specifically says WITHOUT DECLARATION and UPON THE FACT (ipso facto).

R. Sungenis: Mario, you're just proving my point.

First of all, Canon 188.4 of the 1917 Code is no longer in force, since that code has been superceded by the 1983 code. (And you can't argue that the 1983 code has no force, since you can't use as proof what you haven't proven, that is, that John Paul II has no power to enforce the 1983 canon because he is not the pope).

Second, even if canon 188.4 were in force, the clause "publicly defects from the Catholic faith" is not defined, so your attempt to confine it to when YOU think the pope has defected is simply begging the question. Unfortunately, you seem to think that if the pope says something wrong doctrinally in public, then he loses his office, but you simply have no proof for that assertion. If that were the case, then Honorius, John XXII, and many other popes would have lost their office, but the Church gives not the slightest hint that such was the case. Again, since the Church knew that a pope could speak a doctrinal error in public, this was precisely the reason Vatican I limited the times a pope would speak without error, and that is only in an ex cathedra statement. This was done precisely to stop vigilantes like you from declaring the pope a non-pope based on your personal judgment of whether or not he made an error.

So, not only do you operate with an outdated canon, the very canon to which you appeal doesn't prove your argument.

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Question 67- Papal authority

You: or call him to a trial and prove in a canonical court of law that he is indeed an illegitimate pope. If they determine so canonically, then if that antipope refuses to step down, they can thus ignore him and proceed to elect another pope in his place who will then use his authority run the Church and banish the illegitimate pope.

Me: Please read http://www.newadvent.org if that link doesn’t work the article is intitled simply “The Pope” on the newadvent.com Catholic Encyclopedia. In that article you will read that the Pope is the supreme ruler of the Church and he is protected by none other than Our Lord Himself from teaching heresy. He said that he would be with us until the end of the world. There is no authority above the Pope the college of cardinals cannot depose the Pope.

R. Sungenis: I didn't say the college of Cardinals can depose the pope. I said they can bring him to trial, convict him of heresy, and then elect another pope, and let the next pope do the deposing. As for the New Advent article, I don't know exactly what you wanted me to see, but the article says nothing about the parameters and conditions of infallibility, but only speaks of jurisdiction, which has nothing to do with heresy.

The Church has already had precedent of various popes saying things that are in error or doing things that are immoral. This is precisely why Vatican I said that the pope is only protected by Christ from error when he speaks ex cathedra, since Vatican I had to face the unmitigated fact that many previous popes were in error on various things.

If error is heresy, then the pope could utter a heresy when he is not speaking ex cathedra, and those occasions are quite rare. In every other thing the pope says, he is subject to error (NB: this does not mean that he is in error, but only that he is subject to error, being merely a human being). To deny this is to say that the pope has no free will, but is merely an automaton of heaven, but that is certainly not the case.

The only way out of this is to try to prove that error is not heretical, but I don't think anyone will be able to do that.

Hence, the question is: is the heresy/error a "manifest" one, and does the person insists on perpetuating this error even after admonishment? If so, then he not only uttered a heresy, he is now a canonical heretic, and steps need to be taken to deal with that.

A good case in point of a pope in error but who recanted is John XXII, who taught an error on whether the saints saw the beatific vision. Fortunately, after the admonishment of his cardinals, he recanted that error, and thus was saved being condemned by subsequent popes (as Honorius was condemned by subsequent popes).

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Question 66- Was the Mass Invented in 1054?

Dear Mr. Sungenis: Thank you for answering my question. I wondered, if you have the time, could you respond to another question? After reading David Currie's book, Born fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic I asked my pastor to respond to the chapter that dealt with the Eucharist being Jesus's flesh and blood. It pointed out that early writings favored the Catholic position on communion. He responded with the following. Is this true that the Catholic church itself did not create the Mass until 1054? Thank you, Mrs. Harter

R. Sungenis: Mrs. Harter, that is absolutely false. The early fathers had at least three mass liturgies and they had over 10 Greek words and 5 Latin words to describe the changing of the bread into the body of Christ. The only event after that was the dogmatization of the change by the word "transubstantiation" at the Lateran Council in 1215. If you want much more on this, I suggest you purchase my book, Not By Bread Alone. You can purchase a signed copy from us, or you can buy it through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I have all the gory details in the book.

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Question 65- The Catholic Answer

Robert, I recently got an email offering a subscription to The Catholic Answer. Do you know anything about this magazine and do you think it is worth getting (orthodox)? Amy

R. Sungenis: The Catholic Answer is run by Our Sunday Visitor. They’ve had a few shakeups in the last few years with personnel, so I don’t know where they stand as of this date. I used to write for them back in 1996-1999, but I have now decided to write for more traditional outlets. By and large, they represent the typical post-conciliar mentality that there is little wrong with the Church and the present pontificate today, which is thoroughly incorrect.

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Question 64- Anger as a sin, Part III

Robert, Thanks again for your answers it does give me more insight. Regarding the 3 yr old child: Aren't they too young to do anything sinful? And do they even have the intellect to understand what sin is? Isn't the emotion of anger a natural response to something you are not happy with and the possible sin is in how you respond? So wouldn't it be wrong to tell them that they should not be angry but rather, deal with their response to their anger? I'm not saying that anger is always okay, it should be subordinate the intellect and will right? Amy

R. Sungenis: Amy, children sin but before the age of reason they are not responsible for their sin. That is the only difference. When they do bad things, we should tell them they are bad so that by the time they reach the age of reason (app. 7 years of age) they will have a formed conscience and know, very well, the difference between right and wrong.

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Question 63- Evolution and reexamining Catholicism

Hi,
I spent my first 24 years as a Catholic and the next 24 years as a Protestant but now find myself reexamining Catholicism. It is unclear to me as to what is the Catholic church's official position on evolution or the age of the earth. Can you tell me where I can find this information? Not opinions but actual doctrinal statements. Thank you,

Mrs. Harter

R. Sungenis: Mary, Lateran Council IV and Vatican Council I assure us that all things, visible and invisible, were created in the six days of Creation week, and there is nothing being created by God at the present time.
Lateran VI says: Firmly we believe and we confess simply that the true God is one alone, eternal, immense, and unchangeable, incomprehensible, omnipotent and ineffable, Father and Son and Holy Spirit: indeed three Persons but one essence, substance, or nature entirely simple. The Father from no one, the Son from the Father only, and the Holy Spirit equally from both; without beginning, always, and without end; the Father generating, the Son being born, and the Holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial and coequal and omnipotent and coeternal; one beginning of all, creator of all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual, and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human, constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body. For the devil and other demons were created by God good in nature, but they themselves through themselves have become wicked. But man sinned at the suggestion of the devil.

Vatican Council I says: If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing, or, shall have said that God created not by a volition free of all necessity, but as necessarily as He necessarily loves Himself, or, shall have denied that the world was created to the glory of God: let him be anathema.

Pope Pelagius I, in 561, wrote to King Childebert I: "For I confess that...Adam and his wife, were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other from the rib of man."

In 1441, the Council of Florence stated in its decrees: "God...is the creator of all things visible and invisible, who, when he wished, out of his goodness created all creatures, spiritual as well as corporal; good, indeed...since they were from nothing..."

In 1860, the Council of Cologne condemned the idea of human evolution in very straightforward words: "Our first parents were formed immediately by God. Therefore we declare that...those who...assert...man...emerged from spontaneous continuous change of imperfect nature to the more perfect, is clearly opposed to Sacred Scripture and to the Faith.
Pope Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, remarks how the theory of biological evolution has infected theological studies:

"First of all they lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must in fact change, and in this way they pass to what may be said to be the chief of their doctrines, that of Evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is subject - dogma, Church worship, the books that we receive as sacred, even faith itself..."
Pope Leo XIII, in Providentissimus Deus in 1893 stated:

"The commentator...must carefully observe the rule...not to depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity requires, a rule to which it is the more necessary to adhere strictly in these times, when the thirst for novelty and unrestrained freedom of thought make the danger of error most real and proximate."

Accordingly, the 1994 Catholic Catechism, in quoting St. Thomas Aquinas from the Summa Theologica, says in paragraph 116:

"The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and... ‘all other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.'"

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Question 62- What does it literally mean that God will create a new heaven and earth?

a) Will the earth be destroyed in the second coming?

R. Sungenis: Yes, 2 Peter 3:10-12 says that the whole universe will be destroyed and recreated, a New Heaven and New Earth.

b) If Adam hadn't sinned would heaven in that sense be a place on earth?

R. Sungenis: No, heaven is where the angels and God reside as spirits.

c) What does it mean that God will create a new heaven and earth?

R. Sungenis: It means that this heaven and earth will be destroyed and God will recreate a New Heaven and New Earth, “and the former will not come into mind nor be remembered.” (Isaiah 65:17).

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Question 61- Is God free?

Hi, Robert,
You wrote, in January 2005's question 21, I think, you wrote, "R. Sungenis: Konrad, admit to him that he is right -- we can't answer these questions. Is God free or is God determined, or is he neither or both? We don't know. But there is a reason we can't understand or explain these things: because if God exists, then by definition he is infinite since anything less than infinite would not be God. Consequently, we, the finite, since we cannot understand infinity, can never completely understand God. Hence, the logic the atheist uses to make it difficult to believe in God, we use the same logic to show that the atheist can't deny God's existence simply because he can't explain his existence."

You may want to reread page 46 of Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma because Vatican I seems to disagree with you. It says, "If anybody says that God created things not in virtue of a will free from all necessity, but in virtue of necessity by which he necessarily loves himself, let him be
anathema" (Qtd. in Ott 46).

Ott, Ludwig. "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma." Ed. James Canon Bastible. Trans Patrick Lynch. Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1974.
God bless, Bill

R. Sungenis: Bill, Vatican I is not dealing with the same issue. It is only concerned about what motivated God to create the world. I was speaking about God’s nature as God.

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Question 60- Looking to come home

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

I stand in appreciation of your web site. As a Catholic apologetics site, it stands out from most of the rest, clearly standing for all the church has previously declared.

I am an ex-Catholic (poorly chatecized), who committed his life to Christ in 1981; a wonderful, life changing event and experience. But the Protestant book that got me to that point seriously prejudiced my mind against Catholicism, and so too did the Protestant Church I joined thereafter.

After years of bible study and apologetics (including anti-Catholic apologetics), by the grace of God, I have found or fought my way to being open minded about examining pro-Catholic apologetics.

I hope you will not mind if I consult and maybe argue you with you on a few issues in an effort to resolve some of the questions that I have; some complex, and some not. I am actually hopeful that the Catholic Church has good answers on them so that I may rejoin in good conscience and full submission.

As you can understand, this is a rocky road. Your assistance, and that of your staff, would be much appreciated.
Sincerely,
Malcolm K
Issaquah, WA

R. Sungenis: Malcolm, we are always open to questions. I can’t guarantee when I can get to them, but eventually I will. God be with you, and congratulations on coming back to the one true Church.

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Question 59 - Are we going to be judged twice?

Dear CAI,

Can you please help me to understand the correlation between particular/individual judgment and general judgment. If our some of loved ones have died already and have faced judgment aren't they are going to be judged twice when Jesus comes again in the second coming, as it says in the creed 'he will come again to judge the living and the dead'. If Jesus judges us twice then how does this fit in with the story of the sheep and the goats as this is an example of how Jesus will judge us when he comes again. It seems as though that if this story taken to its logical conclusion in terms of Jesus judging the living and dead in the creed, then Jesus is going to pull the saved out of heaven to judge only to resend them to heaven!

Help I am confused, your clarity is greatly appreciated.

Tim

R. Sungenis: Tim, the particular judgment is a preliminary judgment to determine where a soul will be sent prior to the end of the world. This is only logical, since we wouldn’t expect the saved and the damned to be occupying the same locale. The final judgment is needed, however, because there will be a lot of people on earth who have not yet died (at present, about 6 billion of them) who have not yet been judged. The final judgment will not effect the status of those who had previously died before the end of the world. The only additional thing that will happen for those individuals is that their particular judgment will be announced at the final judgment, and their particular works with their rewards (for the saved) or the bad works and the accompanying degrees of punishments (for the unsaved) will be formally announced and applied.

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Question 58- Gift of Tongues (Glossolalia)

Dear Robert

Is the gift of tongues (glossolalia) a legitimate gift? Has anyone in the Catholic church ever had this form of the gift of tongues? Or is xenolalia the only legitimate form of the gift of tongues?

Also, I was reading a book on the gift of tongues by Fr. Sears (a charismatic Catholic priest), and he concedes that the early Fathers only spoke about xenolalia as the gift of tongues and not glossolalia. But Fr. Sears quotes several Fathers throughout different historical periods that show the Fathers spoke about the "gift of jubilation." Fr. Sears then tries to make the connection that the "gift of jubilation" is basically glosslalia.

What is this gift of "jubilation" that Fr. Sears speaks about? Was it common throughout Church history? Was it done during liturgy?

I appreciate your help as the "jubilation" argument seems to be his main argument to assert that glossolalia is not new to Catholicism and should be embraced today.

God bless,

Tony

R. Sungenis: Tony, Fr. Sears is a little off the mark. First, there was no “gift” of jubilation in the Church, if by “gift” we are referring to a supernatural gift from the Holy Spirit as were the other vocal “gifts” mentioned in the New Testament (cf., 1 Cor 12-14; Rom 12:6-8). Charismatics need to understand that when they attempt to “speak in tongues” (whether it is xenolalia or glossalalia) they are claiming to be directly prompted, supernaturally, by the Holy Spirit. This is not just some casual occurrence that we can turn on and off like a light switch. It is the same supernatural vehicle as if God was inspiring a prophet to predict a future event. It takes an intrusion by God, nothing less, to create a legitimate tongues occurrence. Those occurrences are very rare, and they will certainly not happen on the mass scales we see Charismatics claiming today, and trying to push on other Christians as a sign of either salvation or special blessing.

Fr. Sears is correct in stating that the Fathers spoke only about xenolalia (tongues in foreign languages). Glossalalia stems from the religious cults of ancient Greece, and is prevalent among many Protestant denominations today, beginning with the Holiness movement in the late 1800s and the Pentecostals and Assemblies of God in the 1900s. Glossalalia is a completely learned phenomenon, and has nothing to do with biblical tongues. As for xenolalia, the Fathers were in consensus that it stopped after the first century, at least on grand scales. There are only three reports of Catholic saints speaking in xenolalia in all of Christian history after the apostolic age. I have written a 50-page paper on this, and much of it contains a historical and psychological analysis of modern glossalalia. You are welcome to purchase it from us.

As for “jubilation,” the only Father who spoke about it was Augustine, but it had nothing to do with glossalalia. Augustine made reference to “jubilation” only because, in his commentary on the Psalms, he was attempting to explain the emotional experiences of the Psalmist (David) in his relationship with God. If you’ve ever read the Psalms, you will notice that in many instances David is filled with emotion as he contemplates God and his word, and rightly so, but there is nothing there about glossalalia. For example, Augustine writes:
“What is ‘jubilate’? Into the voice of rejoicings break forth if ye cannot into that of words. For ‘jubilation’ is not of words, but the sound alone of men rejoicing is uttered, as of a heart labouring and bringing forth into voice the pleasure of a thing imagined which cannot be expressed. ‘Be joyful in God every land:’ let no one jubilate in a part: let every land be joyful, let the Catholic Church jubilate. The Catholic Church embraceth the whole: whosoever holdeth a part and from the whole is cut off, should howl, not jubilate” (Homilies on the Psalms, LXII, 2).

“’Praise Him on the well-sounding cymbals, praise Him on cymbals of jubilation’ (verse 5). Cymbals touch one another in order to sound, and therefore are by some compared to our lips. But I think it better to understand that God is in a manner praised on the cymbal, when each is honored by his neighbor, not by himself, and then honoring one another, they give praise to God. But lest any should under stand such cymbals as sound without life, therefore I think he added, ‘on cymbals of jubilation.’ For ‘jubilation’ that is, unspeakable praise, proceeds not, save from life” (Homilies on the Psalms, CXXIX, 10)

As you can see, this is speaking about normal, human emotion, not of anything supernatural. If Charismatics want to be joyful and express that joy in various ways, that is fine. But once they cross the line and claim that their “jubilation” is the same as biblical tongues or that they have been supernaturally endowed with joy that is over and above human emotion, then they have entered into forbidden territory, and they open themselves up to the preternatural.

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Question 57- Concerning baptism, infants, and sanctifying grace

Dear Dr. Sungenis,

I have a few questions concerning infants, baptism, and sanctifying grace:

1) One may put forth the following question: "Is it not merciless of God to create a person in the womb of its mother without His sanctifying grace?" In other words, how is it that our human nature is good, yet fallen from God?

R. Sungenis: First, we must always start from the premise that God is just, and never question it. Unless one starts from that position, he will always come up with doubts about God’s motives. This is why God requires faith first. Without it, God can never take us to the next step. How would you like it if you were trying to teach someone, but he simply never got over the hump of first trusting you? Second, God is just in creating us without sanctifying grace because his justice demands that he punish the sin of Adam as he promised he would do. Adam knew this. Therefore, for God to go back on that promise would have been unjust.

2) How is it that a married man and woman who are each baptized cannot pass on sanctifying grace to their children if they indeed do each have it in their souls?

R. Sungenis: Because sanctifying grace is not transferred physically or by generation. God must create a new soul for the newly conceived child, but when he does so it is without sanctifying grace.

3) How verifiable is it with the Fathers and theologians that the doctrine of the limbo of children is true?

4) And concerning the limbo of children, is such a place in the realm of hell (as in sheol near where there once existed the limbo of the Fathers) certainly a permanent state, or is it possibly not the final destination of souls that have committed no actual sin but have the absence of sanctifying grace, the stain of original sin?

R. Sungenis: Limbo is from the Latin “limbus,” meaning “on the margin.” It was originally proposed as an admission of ignorance regarding what God will do with unbaptized babies. In other words, the Church put those babies “on the margin” because they left it in the hands of God as to their final destiny. As such, limbo is not a doctrine of the Church but more an admission that there is no doctrine.

5) Could not our Lord instantly and miraculously baptize infants right after they may die, for did not the Lord say, "Let the little children come to Me," and is not anything good possible with God? Does He not desire that all be saved (even certainly not all will be saved)?

R. Sungenis: Yes, the Lord can do anything good he desires, if it were possible. But the fact is, you cannot baptize a dead person, since a dead person has no soul residing in the body any longer.

6) What is one to tell parents who have lost their children who had not yet been baptized?

R. Sungenis: Trust in God. He is just.

7) Could the Church make a dogmatic statement to settle the issue as well?

R. Sungenis: Yes, but apparently God has held her back from doing so, otherwise it would have been settled. Apparently, these are areas that God himself will decide.

8) Last question: What happens to unbaptized persons who do not die with actual sin but with only original sin on their souls?

Sorry I may have given you too many questions to answer. You can answer though only if and when you are to do so, since I do know you are a busy man with all the good work you do in service to our Lord. I only simply ask for possibly a different perspective on the issue of which I ask, for I have very perplexed with at this time now. It was once the subject of an argument I recently had with another person. Thank you very much, Sir, and God bless you, your family, and the work you by the Blessed Mother.

Pax in nomine Christi per Mariam,

Teodoro B

R. Sungenis: No problem. Unless they had a desire for baptism (Council of Trent, Sess 22, Chapter 4, Canon 4), which is the only other way to receive the sacrament, they would be under damnation. The question remains, however, how we are to understand the desire for baptism. It is, unfortunately, a infallible dogma of the Church that has not yet been fully explained by the magisterium.

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Question 56- Did the early Church believe that Mary was their Mother?

Dear CAI,

I am confused and troubled by John 19:26-27, it is my understanding that is here that the church understands that Mary became the mother of the Church/ body of Christ. A lot of protestants (of the James White type) say that this reading into the text a lot of emotional hype and is simply poor scriptural exegisis.

Did the early church take this passage to mean that Mary is our Mother and if so who are these people and what did they say?

Thanks for your help,

Tim.

R. Sungenis: The Catholic Church comes to the ultimate understanding of John 19:26-27 from an a-priori position, not the Protestant a-posteriori position. That is, the doctrine of Mary and her position in the Church is a product of Tradition, various other Scriptures, and the decisions of the magisterium. This allows us to see the deeper meaning of John 19:26-27 that Protestants will invariably miss, since they fallaciously depend on Scripture to give them all the necessary details about the Christian faith. Scripture is merely one witness among two other equally authoritative sources of infallible information.

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Question 55- Catechesis of the good shepherd

What are your thoughts about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd begun by Sophia Cavaletti inspired by the Montesorri teaching principles? We have recently started this program at our church and I am in training to present it to the children. The kids love it and it seems to get thru to them. My problem is with Sophia's support of a long age earth in her timelines. I will not teach that theory and it doesn't even belong in church. Maybe there are other hidden things in CGS I should be wary of. I'd love to hear what you think, have heard, whatever.

Thanks, Brenda Y

R. Sungenis: I’m not familiar with what Sophia Cavaletti teaches, but if you have a question about something particular that she teaches, by all means, run it by us. As for the “long-age” view, that, of course, is an error.

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Question 54- Are the Canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council Valid?

Dear Robert,

Greetings in the name of Christ.

I was just reading the first time through the 7th Ecumenical council and I began to wonder: Are the canons of this council valid, in force, in perpetuity? Canon I seems to state that the canons from the previous 6 Ecumenical Councils were still in force "Seeing these things are so, being thus well-testified unto us, we rejoice over them as he that hath found great spoil, and press to our bosom with gladness the divine canons, holding fast all the precepts of the same, complete and without change, whether they have been set forth by the holy trumpets of the Spirit, the renowned Apostles, or by the Six Ecumenical Councils, or by Councils locally assembled for promulgating the decrees of the said Ecumenical Councils, or by our holy Fathers."

I noticed 2 of the Canons in particular appear to contradict the current teachings of the Catholic Church. For example:

Canon VII: "...And if any bishop from this time forward is found consecrating a temple without holy relics, he shall be deposed, as a transgressor of the ecclesiastical traditions."

Canon XIV: "That no one without ordination ought to read in the ambo during the synaxis."

Please correct me if I am wrong, but is it not the current teaching of the Catholic Church that new churches can be dedicated without any relics and that it is completely permissable for the non-ordained to read during the liturgy (lay lectors)?

If the Church has the authority to overturn these Canons, could not a future pope steeped in the current wave of liturgical iconoclasm overturn this council's teaching regarding the veneration of icons?

May God continue to bless you and your apostolate.

Chris
Indianapolis, IN

R. Sungenis: The Church has not made an official and binding declaration that a Catholic Church can be consecrated without relics. Hence, any bishop, who is making such a decision is going against Canon VII of Nicea. The canons are put there to be obeyed, but this also means that there will be individuals who disobey them. As to Canon XIV, the synaxis is understood as referring to the reading of the Gospel. As it stands, the practice even in Novus Ordo churches is to lay hands on a qualified deacon or visiting priest before they can read the Gospel.

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Question 53- Reformed Friend's Question About Celibacy

Robert,
First I would like to thank you for doing all that you do with your apostolate. I have read all of your books and enjoyed all of them tremendously.

I recently was asked a question by a Reformed friend of mind that I haven't ever heard phrased quite the way he phrased it and really don't know how to answer him. He basically asked how can the Catholic Church impose celibacy on its priests and bishops since Paul allowed bishops to be married? He sees celibacy as something the Catholic Church has imposed on its clergy that Paul nor any of the other apostles required and wanted to know how the Catholic Church can make such a requirement when scripture doesn't make such a requirement.
Sincerely,
Scott

R. Sungenis: Scripture may not make celibacy a requirement, but Scripture allows the Church to make various requirements of its people. In Acts 15, for example, Scripture records the time in which a Church council imposed 4 laws on the Jews in regards to relations with Gentiles. Scripture itself did not require those laws (except for the fornication law) for New Testament Christian, but the Church thought it wise to impose those laws for the sake of good relations. In the same way, if the Church regards celibacy as a help to the priesthood, she can make it a requirement if she chooses. According to Jesus, the Church can bind and looses as she sees fit. Scripture does not prohibit that decision, it allows it. Not only does Scripture allow it on a procedural basis, but also a spiritual basis, since St. Paul states in 1 Cor 7 that the celibate life is better so that a man can better serve the Lord. Moreover, Protestants often misinterpret 1 Timothy 3:1-2 as St. Paul requiring a bishop to be married, but that is not the case. The passage only says that IF a bishop has a wife and children, he must rule his house well in order to be qualified for the bishoprick.

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Question 52- Can the Feminine "Rock" be the Masculine Peter?

Mr. Sungenis
Sorry to bother you I just have a quick question regarding mathew 16:18. I've read an article you wrote a long while back about how epi tautee tee must refer to its nearest antecedant which is Peter. It was a very good article by the way. My question though is can tautee refer back to Peter because it is in the feminine. Or am I mistaken that it is a feminine demonstrative pronoun? I'm sure its probably just a simple mistake on my part, but I was curious as to how to respond to someone who says a that feminine demonstrative prounoun cannot go back to masculine petros. any help would be greatly appreciated.
thanks
Kyle

R. Sungenis: Kyle, the matchup between masculine adjectives and masculine nouns in Greek is only required of common nouns, not proper nouns. "Peter" is a proper noun, and thus it can be used with a masculine or feminine adjective. You will see the same grammatical occurrence in 1 Cor 10:4 in which "rock," a feminine noun, has as its antecedent "Christ," a masculine proper noun.

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Question 51- On Question 9 - Baptism of Desire

Answer: The following definition of baptism of desire can be made which will be totally consistent with the infallible teaching of the Council of Trent and with the thrice defined dogma of "No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church". This definition of baptism of desire goes as follows:

"In its proper meaning, this consists of an act of perfect contrition or perfect love [that is Charity, which necessarily implies that one has the True Faith], and the simultaneous desire for baptism. It does not imprint an indelible character on the soul and the obligation to receive Baptism by water remains." (From page 126 of "The Catholic Concise Encyclopedia", by Robert Broderick, M.A., copyright 1957, Imprimatur by Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, August 31, 1956) [Emphasis mine]

(Brother David Mary, M.I.C.M., Tertiary)

Yours thoughts, please.

Regards
Stephen H
Republic of Singapore

R. Sungenis: It is a false definition. Chapter 4 of Session 22 of Trent says nothing about "an act of perfect contrition" or that the desire for baptism "does not imprint an indelible character on the soul and the obligation to receive Baptism by water remains." This is precisely where the the MICM followers have gone off the track, and it is precisely why they then go on to make the artificial distinction between justification and salvation in order to cover their tracks.

Trent is clear that justification (which is salvation) occurs "through the laver of regeneration, OR a desire for it..." The MICM followers keep trying to change "or" to "and," but that is fallacious.

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Question 50- Predestination and Free Will

Dr. Sugenis,

I have greatly enjoyed reading your articles on your site regarding justification. It is now alot easier to see the position that both St. Paul and St. James articulate in the bible. The question I have for you is definitely the most difficult area that I have had throughout my christian life. I was wondering if you could attempt to explain to me the relationship between free will and predestination. I have done alot of research regarding predestination taking in all the positions that the fathers have had throughout the years. At the site http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm
the theory described as C. The Theory of Predestination post prœvisa merita is very appealing to me scriptually and morally. I am extremely interested in this question because no one in my family is an extremely devoted Christian and I am worried that it might be true that God does not want them to be saved. I have seen some interpretations of 1 Tim 2:4 from Augustine that makes me think that he did not believe that God sincerely wanted all men to be saved. This follows then that he may have thought that God does not work for all men to try and save them. I am very sensitive to this kind of thinking because I hate the idea of people suffering in hell, especially if God displays an apathetic attitude towards them. Also Aquinas seemed to have a similar interpretation to Augustine regarding 1Tim 2:4. Could you please tell me what you think about this mystery starting from this verse?

Thank you for your time,
Adrian F

R. Sungenis: Adrian, the great thing about the Catholic Church is that it is not afraid to interpret Scripture at face value. Hence, the Church has consistently taught that God, indeed, desires to save ALL men, without qualification. But he did not or cannot predestine them to heaven because there is another component in his determinations and that is man's free will. If you would like a more in depth explanation that balances out the predestinarian and free will dimensions of this issue, you can acquire my books "How Can I Get to Heaven" or "Not By Faith Alone." I treat the subject extensively in those two works. The former one is a more simplified version, the latter is heavily annotated. We also have a 90-minute cassette tape titled "Predestination and Free Will." You can purchase them from us at CAI in a return email. God be with you.

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Question 49- Baptism of Desire Infallible, Part II

Dr. Sungenis,

If you admit that there can be a question as to the infallibility of
paragraphs of the 22nd session, then even if something infallible
says: "If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification: let him be anathema," it is not logical to say that the fallible definition MUST be applied to this infallible declaration, which speaks merely of the Sacraments in general.

R. Sungenis: Your argument is illogical, since it stands to reason that what applies to the sacraments in general regarding a "desire" for them thus applies to the sacraments that speak of incorporating a "desire" for the sacrament. Moreover, the Council of Trent is one cohesive whole. It does not contradict itself. It is well known that the authors of the Council coincided the canons with the chapters, and the canons are merely succinctly worded statements of what the chapters stated in more detail.

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Question 48- Trent and Desire

I had another question about Baptism of Desire and Trent. If it is so clear in the Council that Baptism of Desire is true, where is it in the Catechism of Trent? The catechism makes it clear that absolutely no one is saved outside of Baptism:

R. Sungenis: The Canons of Trent on Baptism do not address Baptism of Desire either, but who would argue that those canons are contradicting the canons on Justification where "desire" of the sacrament is addressed and accepted? The catechism of Trent itself declares that the doctrines of Trent are infallible, and thus the catechism implicitly accepts everything that Trent dogmatizes, and it is a fact that "desire" of the sacrament was dogmatized in a canon with an anathema. To suggest that the catechism would reject Trent's teaching on "desire" for the sacrament is ludicrous.

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Question 47- Baptism of Desire Infallible

Dr. Sungenis:

I have written you a few times in the past concerning Baptism of
Desire. I have read yet another response by you on your Q & A section for February, contesting that Baptism of Desire is an infallible teaching of the Church. You said, in response to a question about the translation of the passage "without the laver of regeneration, or its desire, etc.":

"Lastly, I would suggest that whoever is trying to teach you that there is no such thing as a baptism of desire cease and desist. This is a dogmatic teaching of the Church, and it is infallible. Any attempt to alter it will simply bring terrible consequences."

This seems absurd to me. Even if you will argue that this is a
statement by the Church in favor of the Baptism of Desire theory, how can you possibly allege that this is ex Cathedra and infallible? Vatican I clearly said what is and is not infallible. NOT every word of an Ecumenical Council is infallible. This was merely an explanation of the canons, not a canon or declarated statement itself. I see no words that would suggest this is spoken infallibly (no "we declare, say, define, preach, etc.). The Catholic Encyclopedia explains, speaking on which teachings are infallible:

"A word or two under this head, summarizing what has been already explained in this and in other articles will suffice.

"As regards matter, only doctrines of faith and morals, and facts so intimately connected with these as to require infallible determination, fall under tbe scope of infallible ecclesiastical teaching. These doctrines or facts need not necessarily be revealed; it is enough if the revealed deposit cannot be adequately and effectively guarded and explained, unless they are infallibly determined.

"As to the organ of authority by which such doctrines or facts are determined, three possible organs exist. One of these, the magisterium ordinarium, is liable to be somewhat indefinite in its pronouncements and, as a consequence, practically ineffective as an organ. The other two, however, are adequately efficient organs, and when they definitively decide any question of faith or morals that may arise, no believer who pays due attention to Christ's promises can consistently refuse to assent with absolute and irrevocable certainty to their teaching.

"But before being bound to give such an assent, the believer has a right to be certain that the teaching in question is definitive (since only definitive teaching is infallible); and the means by which the definitive intention, whether of a council or of the pope, may be recognized have been stated above. It need only be added here that not everything in a conciliar or papal pronouncement, in which some doctrine is defined, is to be treated as definitive and infallible.

For example, in the lengthy Bull of Pius IX defining the Immaculate Conception the strictly definitive and infallible portion is comprised in a sentence or two; and the same is true in many cases in regard to conciliar decisions. The merely argumentative and justificatory statements embodied in definitive judgments, however true and authoritative they may be, are not covered by the guarantee of infallibility which attaches to the strictly definitive sentences -- unless, indeed, their infallibility has been previously or subsequently established by an independent decision."

I do not see how you can attempt to pawn off this as some sort of ex Cathedra statement.

Sincerely,
M.

R. Sungenis: M., if there is any question whether the chapter paragraphs of the 22nd session of the Council of Trent are infallible, Trent reiterated its acceptance about the "desire" for the sacraments in Canon 4, which reads: "If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification: let him be anathema."

Since, as we know from chapter 4 and 14 of Session 22 that the "desire" for the sacrament can be applied both to baptism and penance, this plurality of application is thus covered by Canon 4's general reference to desire for the sacraments.

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Question 46- A Coptic Genesis?

R. Sungenis: Yves, thank you for your "explanations." With all due respect to you and your work, however, I must tell you that I thoroughly reject most of your assertions. I will explain below.

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

I will answer to your mail because I guess you didnt understand Crombette's view and discoveries.

He was first successfull in the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs, reading them as rebuses in primitive coptic language,he reconstituted from this one of christian era. Doing this, he demonstrates that the first pharao was Misraïm, son of Ham, he finds testimonies cocernig Jacob, Joseph, the persecution of Hebreus by Sethos and Ramses II, and Egyptian accounts of Joshuah's and Isaiah's solar miracles. He finds a narrow agreement between biblical and Egyptian chronologies. Using the same method and language, he translated Cretan and Hittite hieroglyphs,peculiarly the Karchemish bas relief which describes the lives of arounf 85 Hittite kings, from Heth, grandson of Ham, up to the last king living in the 8th century. Finally, he
translated the rongo rongos of Eastern Island, which are antediluvian and concern the Caïn descendants.

This primitive coptic or egyptian language is this of the Bible. Moshe was educated at pharao's court. He speaks nthe Exodus book the same language as pharao and wrote the Pentateuch with it.

R. Sungenis: Moses certainly carried over Egyptian phrases and such. Damien Mackey has made quite a case, for example, in arguing that the Pentateuch has Egyptian roots, not Babylonian roots. But to argue that the Bible in Coptic is more accurate than the inspired Hebrew is absurd.
Crombette's appeal to alternate biblical stories in Coptic is no more convincing than finding stories of Marduk in Babylonian literature, especially when some of these alternates that Crombette creates are so diverse from the Hebrew accounts. Crombette's translation of Genesis 1:1, for example, is so different from the Hebrew bible that it makes a laughstock of Christianity to think that not until Crombette do we have even an adequate text to exegete. The Fathers, the medievals, and the holy Councils stated that the Hebrew text alone was the authentically inspired text.

And then to suggest that the earth came out of the sun, and the moon came out of the earth is totally absurd, and against every witness in the Christian faith. On top of this is your attempt to dismiss as an error the three popes and the Sacred Congregation who said the earth has no diurnal motion based simply on Crombette's Coptic version of Genesis. So not only do you find yourself at odds with the Church's testimony that Hebrew was the only inspired text, you also find yourself at odds with the magisterium, based simply on the testimony of one man about whom you know very little, and have little recourse to check his work. END

The reading of Bible with help of this language is not a midrash, as you say, but the dicovery of the first meaning of Holy Scripture, the Hebrew people could no more understand when they start speaking aramean language at the time of deportation in Babylon.

R. Sungenis: And what proof do you have for this assertion? END

Thanks to the coptic roots of Hebrew words, is it possible to discover the meaning of the names of animals given by Adam, and of the names of men and places.

R. Sungenis: I don't have a problem saying that Hebrew may have some Coptic roots. Mackey, as I said above, lists quite a few of them. But that is quite different than saying the Coptic version of Genesis is more accurate and more authentic than the Hebrew. END

In this version, it appears explicitely that continent-drift took place during the Flood.

R. Sungenis: Well, that would then be in contradiction to the Hebrew bible, which indicates that continental drift took place after the Flood due to the sin of man at the tower of Babel. END

I wrote a long paper, unfortunately in french, showing that objections of critics since Richard Simon against Mosaïc origin of Pentateuch disappear if it is admitted that the real language of it is Coptic one.

It may seem incredible that Holy Church didnt know the primitive meaning of Scripture until our time. Our Lord has answered to this difficult question in a revelation given to Mary of the Valleys, from Coutances in Normandy, who inspired to the blessed John Eudes the devotion towards Holy Hearts. He told to her that at the end of times, The Church would know a meaning of Scripture She had not yet known. This new meaning doesnt change Faith, but allows to harmonize the Bible and science on a better way that with classic translations.

R. Sungenis: I'm sorry Yves, but we don't base our faith on private revelations. You as a Catholic should know better. Regarding Scripture, the Church has always known that as time goes by she will understand more and more of Scripture, but that refers to its more esoteric parts. No where does the Church suggest that an alternate version, more authentic and accurate than the Hebrew or Greek, would replace those inspired languages as the source of knowledge. If Crombette's Coptic version was not so different in language and meaning than the Hebrew, there wouldn't be much of a problem, but his texts are frequently diametrically opposed to the Hebrew.
There can be only one inspired text, and no one in the history of Judeo-Christianity has ever claimed it was Coptic. The Church has rejected all except the original Hebrew and Greek as the inspired texts. Therefore, any time there is a discrepancy between the Hebrew and Coptic, we side with the Hebrew. If you side with the Coptic, then you're creating another religion, I'm sorry to say, and I will vigorously oppose any effort you put forth to say differently.

This is all I'm going to say on the matter.
Robert Sungenis
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Question 45- Jesus' human knowledge

dear mr. sungenis,
i am a bit confused about the extent of Jesus' human knowledge and what the catechism says about it. the catechism says
This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man,” and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience. This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of Himself, taking “the form of a slave” [Philippians 2:7]. CCC 472 this implies that Jesus really didnt know certain things and that He knew certain things only by experience. however, i've been doing some reading (including fr. william most's book the consciousness of Christ, ludwig ott's fundamentals of catholic dogma, and the catholic encyclopedia), and i've learned that Jesus actually had infused knowledge and knowledge from the beatific vision. these sources say that, due to His infused knowledge and knowledge from the beatific vision, Jesus was not ignorant of anything. thus, when scripture says that He grew in wisdom, it means that He gained knowledge in a new way, not that He actually gained any knowledge. so, i have a few questions.

1) the catechism seems to imply that Jesus really learned new things (and also that in His human knowledge He really didn't know when He would come again, ccc 474). is it wrong, is the other stuff i've read wrong, or am i missing something?

2) if Jesus already knew everything before He experienced it, how could He have really grown in wisdom? sure, He can have His knowledge confirmed by experience, but thats not truly growing in wisdom. i don't think you can really separate knowledge based on the way we gain it to distinguish between knowledge of the same thing gained in 2 different manners.

3) if i correctly understand what i've been reading, it seems that Jesus' human intellect had to contain all the knowledge that His divine intellect has, which is infinite. however, a human intellect cannot be infinite. so what exactly was the extent of Jesus' human knowledge?

4) would i be correct in explaining Jesus' human knowledge this way:

through His infused knowledge, Jesus knew certain things. through His experience, He learned other things. and through the beatific vision, He had at hand all knowledge (such as the time of His second coming) and could go into the depths of His divine intellect and put things into His human intellect, but He could have chosen not to and maybe even sometimes chose not to.
thank you for your time; any help you can give me on this issue would be greatly appreciated.
-jp

R. Sungenis: JP, this is usually a difficult subject since we are dealing with the mystery between the human and divine natures in Christ. But the Church has been very firm that Christ had full knowledge present with him on earth, and still does in heaven.

Gregory the Great tried to explain Matthew 24:36 by saying that Christ knew the day and hour of Judgment Day, but that that divine knowledge did not come from his human nature. I appreciate Gregory's attempt, but I personally don't like the explanation. The text is clear that Christ is putting himself in the same category as the angels and everyone else who do not know the day and hour.

The question is: do we use grammatical/historical exegesis, or in this case does theology override the plain meaning of the text? A Thomist would be more inclinded to the latter, but a phenomenologist would be more inclinded to the former.

Pius X seems to lean more to former option in his syllabus of errors saying that "The natural sense of the evangelical texts cannot be reconciled with that which our theologians teach about the consciousness and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ" is in error. However, Pius X is only saying that it is wrong to say that the biblical texts cannot be RECONCILED with Christ's infallible knowledge, not that the biblical texts cannot be taken at face value and Christ's infallible knowledge be taken at face value. As such, Pius leaves room for the mystery but condemns the idea that there is a contradiction between the biblical text and Christ's infallible knowledge. Unfortunately, he does not offer a solution to the seeming contradiction.

The Holy Office of 1918 answered questions regarding the "soul" of Christ, that is, whether the soul of Christ enjoyed the beatific vision while on earth; whether the soul of Christ knew all things; and whether there is no limitation to the knowledge of Christ's soul. They said in all three cases Christ enjoyed these divine benefits. Pius XII in Mystici Corporis also said Christ enjoyed the beatific vision while on earth.

But again, as we saw in Pius X, the Holy Office does not attempt an exegetical reconciliation between the face value meaning of the biblical text (e.g., Matthew 24:36) and Christ's infallible knowledge.

As it stands, the preponderant testimony from the Church (although it has not been defined, and probably never will be) is that Christ had complete and infallible knowledge while on earth at least in his "soul," but no one has offered a sufficient grammatical/historical exegesis of passages such as Matthew 24:36. As I see it, it will simply not suffice to say that: "Well, it doesn't matter what Matthew 24:36's face value meaning is, Christ had infallible knowledge because our theology says so." We, as Catholics, surely aren't so bold when it comes to passages such as John 6:54 which, in its plain meaning, dictates to us that we are to eat Christ's flesh, while our theology of transubstantiation simply does not do adequate justice to the nature of the eucharist (although it is the best we have).

As such, since the issue has not been defined by the Church, there is still room for discussion. I believe the discussion should center around how we can properly exegete passages such as Matthew 24:36, being faithful to the grammatical meaning of the text, but, at the same time, not diminishing the infallible knowledge of Christ. Whoever comes up with it will be quite honored by the Church, I'm sure.

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Question 44- Baptism by Desire revisited

Dear Mr Sungenis :

I refer to "Question 9 - Baptism of Desire " under "Q & A February 2005". In your reply, you said that Baptism by Desire was a dogma.

In 2001, I had the privilege of discussing the matter with Father
Laisney of the SSPX by e-mail. Father Laisney defended the arguments in SSPX's Fr. Jean-Marc Rulleau's book "Baptism of Desire, a Patristic Commentary" in favour of Baptism by Desire.

The discussion is attached. Perhaps you could kindly give me your thoughts on it after reading it ?

Regards
Stephen,
Singapore

R. Sungenis: Stephen, I read a good portion of the document. I see the same arguments going back and forth as in my previous encounters. The bottom line is this, as I see it: The Council of Trent assures us dogmatically that the Desire of Baptism, in lieu of receiving water, does indeed exist. The only remaining issue (and to which Dominus Jesus is referring) is to whom the desire can be applied, that is, is it only to catechumens who are about to enter the Church and thus make a "vow," or does it have wider application. Until if and when the Church herself settles this issue, I would not be persuaded by any other arguments, especially those coming from the SSPX.

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Question 43- Obeying Our Lady's Requests

I've been doing some reading on your various articles relating to Fatima and Our Lady's requests. I was wondering if we have examples of other requests from Our Lady that have gone unheeded, or unfulfilled? If so, what happened as a result?

Thanks!

R. Sungenis: Monaghan, here is an excerpt from my paper on Fatima. There was a warning in 1936 regarding the unfulfilled consecration. Notice the reference to the King of France who was punished for disobeying a heavenly revelation.
...In August 1931, Sister Lucia reported that Jesus appeared to her with the words:

Make it known to My ministers given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, like him they will follow him into misfortune.

Here we have a clear warning of terrible things that will happen if the consecration of Russia is not performed. If, as the Vatican now claims, that the consecration of Russia was performed in 1984 (which we will analyze later in this essay), then this means the Vatican did not believe the consecration of Russia was performed at any time beginning from when the consecration was first requested (1929) to 1984. Fifty-five years, by any reasonable standard, can certainly be considered a "delaying the execution of My command" specified in the 1931 vision.

As noted earlier, the 1931 vision is then followed by another vision of Jesus to Sister Lucia in May 1936. As reported, He reiterates to her that the conversion of Russia will be accepted in heaven only when it is publicly consecrated by the Pope and all the bishops participate in unison. As in the 1931 vision, Jesus states again that if His words are not heeded, then He will use Russia to chastize the world.

Six years later, while World War II was in full swing, Pope Pius XII chose to consecrate the world (not Russia singly and by name, as specified in the 1929 vision) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both in October and December of 1942. In addition, he performed the consecration without including the bishops of the world. These events tell us several important things:

(1) Pius XII regarded the 1929, 1931 and 1936 visions to Sister Lucia seriously enough for him to perform a consecration. He did not, it should be noted, brush off Sister Lucia's visions as mere devotional fantasies or mental hallucinations (a ploy used recently by certain Vatican officials);

(2) Pius XII, either inadvertently or deliberately, did not feel it necessary to single out Russia by name or call for the bishops of the world during the consecration. As such, current Vatican officials do not consider Pius' attempt to consecrate valid, since, if they did, they would not have devised their own consecration in 1984 under John Paul II;

(3) It proves current Vatican officials realize that a papal consecration must: (a) name Russia specifically, and that a generic consecration of 'the world' is insufficient, and (b) enact the consecration in concert with the bishops of the world who perform the same consecration, whether at the Vatican or in their own dioceses.

(4) The consecration by Pius XII in 1942 and the consecration by John Paul II in 1984 tell us that both pontificates realized that the command to consecrate Russia must be fulfilled. One cannot claim that Sister Lucia's visions were a fantasy and yet act upon them by attempting to fulfill the required consecration. Any attempt today by the Vatican to claim that Sister Lucia's visions were not real, can only end up making the attempted consecration in 1984 appear as an irrational exercise in futility.

Confirmation of Pius XII's failure to properly administer the consecration is confirmed in a July 1946 reply by Sister Lucia to an inquiry by a Professor William Walsh. She specifies that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of the world, but only of Russia. In her reply to Walsh, Sister Lucia states: "If this is done, Our Lady promises to convert Russia and there will be peace."
NB: According to various reports, there may be extenuating circumstances that mistakenly led Pius XII to consecrate the world rather than Russia in 1942. In June 1938, the Portuguese bishops wrote a collective letter to Pope Pius XI asking for the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (The Whole Truth About Fatima, p. 683). In this they appear to have been chiefly influenced by the revelations to Blessed Alexandrina Costa. (That Pope, as we know, did not respond to their request.)

On 1 September 1940, Sr Lucia wrote a letter to Fr Aparicio in which, for the first time, she mentions a consecration of the world alongside that of Russia (Fatima, Joie Intime, Événement Mondial by Brother Francis of Mary of the Angels – Brother Michael of the Holy Trinity’s successor, p. 232). She writes (and I translate from the French): “Latterly, several important persons have spoken to the Holy Father of a consecration of the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart. His Holiness has shown himself well-disposed to this…”.
Shortly afterwards, Sr Lucia was ordered herself to write to the Pope by the Bishop of Gurza, D. Manuel Ferreira, mentioning especially this (conflated) request for a consecration of the world along with a mention of Russia. Naturally she was very perplexed by this novel demand and sought Heaven’s help to resolve the dilemma.

Heaven resolved her difficulty in a private revelation of 22 October 1940. Brother Francis writes: "The revelation of 22 October 1940 reveals therefore a new request, quite secondary in the context of the message of Fatima which remains definitively centered on the consecration and conversion of Russia. 'In October 1940,' comments Fr Alonso, 'Heaven acceded to the desires of Sr Lucia's superiors to see the consecration of the world realized with a special mention of Russia. It is the Lord Himself who suggests such an act.'"

Unfortunately, her bishop, Monsignor da Silva, added even further to the confusion by having her alter her original letter to Rome. Brother Francis writes: "Not only did he substitute an indirect style for the Virgin Mary’s very own words, but he also arranged them in a way that causes the most unfortunate confusion in the conditions proper to each of Heaven’s requests. Regarding the consecration of Russia, Our Lady wanted the Holy Father to order all the bishops to perform this in union with him. On the other hand, Our Lord’s desire regarding the consecration of the world was addressed to the Pope and to him alone. Well! Mgr da Silva reversed the conditions. He omitted the necessary union of the bishops with Rome in the request for the consecration of Russia, and he added it to the request for the consecration of the world! The modifications he imposed on the final version of this letter addressed to Pius XII had the most deplorable consequences. For the Fatima experts and the hierarchical authorities have sometimes used this document to obscure Our Lady’s exact demands, to disfigure and travesty Heaven’s wishes."

Writing with regard to a further revelation on 28 February 1943, Sr Lucia says: “The Good Lord has shown me his pleasure at the act (of Pius XII’s consecration of the world), albeit incomplete according to His desire… He promises, in return, to end the war shortly.” It seems that the Good Lord, knowing full well that His request for Russia’s consecration would go on being ignored, used the services of Alexandrina Costa to at least bring the war to an early close – a war that Pius XI could have prevented altogether if he had effected the original consecration asked of him in 1929 and received in Rome in 1930.

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Question 42- Regnum Christi

Dear Robert Sungenis,

I am a long time Catholic, a student at a Jesuit college, and Regnum Christi member. I appreciate your zeal for defending the church, and knowledge of the Bible. But I don't see why you take such a cautious stance on organizations such as Opus Dei and Regnum Christi which are trying to combat some of the same evils as you are in the modern church. Sure there are
members in these groups that seem to idolize their founder, but that can be said of every order alive today, and widespread throughout the church. In Mexico, before the Revolution in 1910, villagers in rural areas believed priests to be untouchable and had acid for blood, so if anyone hit a priest or shot him they would be burned with acid. Today I know many Catholics who
idolize prominent Catholics such as Scott Hahn, Mel Gibson, Christopher West, and even the Holy Father. I once asked a Bishop (and the holiest man I have ever known) what was the devil's greatest tool in the world, and he said it was forces of division within the church. How can we come together as the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church if we are constantly at
odds with one another and divided?

Peace Always,
Jerry

R. Sungenis: Jerry, I appreciate your concerns. All things considered, I think Opus Dei and Regnum Christi are good for the Church. Anything that fights the liberal onslaught is good, as far as I see it. My only concern is that OD and RC not try to win this battle by artifical means. I was in both OD and RC, long enough to know what they teach and what they do. Of the two, I have more suspicion against the tactics of RC. They seem to be too interested in making money and churning out carbon copies of each other based on their idol, Fr. Maciel. And the fact that Maciel's accusers simply won't go away, adds to my suspicion that the cultic symptoms in RC go deeper than the surface. I appreciate your examples of how Catholics in the past have idolized their leaders, but that doesn't disprove my point, it only reinforces it. I hope you understand.

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Question 41- CAI Statement on Obedience, Disagreement and The Pope

Re: http://www.catholicintl.com/catholicissues/confused-jpii.htm

Mario: Let me just bring up a few things here. You indicate that the current bishops and JPII himself have embraced errors that contradict the very heart of the Gospel. This is called apostasy. If they have embraced such errors and these errors are public and notorious (that's the canonical criterion), then they have, by divine law, lost their office (Canon 188.4, 1917 Code; Paul IV, Cum Ex Apostolatus).

R. Sungenis: Cum Ex Apostolatus is only enforceable by a canonical court of law, not you or me. That was the whole point of my essay.
Mario: You write that "unless our next pope is strong and orthodox...." Bob, if the Pope is not orthodox, he is not a Pope.

R. Sungenis: If that were true, then the pope could make no mistakes outside of ex cathedra statements, which is certainly not the case.

Mario: Someone who is not orthodox is heterodox, and that means not a Catholic.

R. Sungenis: A person can be unorthodox on one point, but be orthodox on all required dogma. Unless he deliberately and persistenly rejects a dogma, he is Catholic, and neither you nor I have the authority to judge it differently. The magisterium is his judge, not you.

Mario: You are saying that "Unless our next Pope is a Catholic......." It is a matter of divine law, as shown by Pope Paul IV, that a non-Catholic cannot be Pope.

R. Sungenis: No, I'm not saying that. You are reading into my words and creating a straw man.

Mario: Now you speak of losing office, but I say go back further and look at Wojtyla before his "election," and you will see he was already not a Catholic and therefore unable to obtain the pontificate to begin with.

R. Sungenis: Unless Cardinal Woytyla was proved in a canonical court of law to be a manifest heretic, then his ascension to the papal throne is legitimate. Your opinion carries no weight in this argument. It is only what the magisterium determines that counts.

Mario: Again, Pope Paul IV is clear on a non-Catholic being unable to be elected Pope (as is the Catholic Encyclopedia).

R. Sungenis: Certainly, if it can be proved in a canonical court of law that he was not a Catholic prior to his election. The Catholic Encyclopedia does not endorse lay people as vigilante judges.

Mario: I agree no one has the authority to *legally declare* JPII a non-Pope, but no one is doing that. We're talking about DISCERNING his status, not about making a legally binding declaration that by itself binds other Catholics. Whether JPII is Pope or not is first of all a matter of fact, and only secondarily a matter of law. Remember how St. Robert speaks of the fall of Nestorius. Before any official condemnation, the people *discerned* that he had lost his office of bishop because he was no longer a Catholic.

R. Sungenis: Then you're on my side, since what we "discern" is not necessarily what the magisterium discerns. Until if and when the magisterium validates the consensus of "discernment," then it remains just that -- a popular opinion of discernment. Your "discernment," as I said in my essay, can be used to protect yourself, but you have no right to turn your "discernment" into a indisputable legal indictment against the pope, as for example, you do on your website, stating as fact that John Paul II is an anti-pope.

Mario: Didn't Pope Leo II clarify the anathema about Pope Honorius? In any case, I don't think Pope Honorius could be compared in any way to John Paul II. JPII's denial of the Faith is all over the map.

R. Sungenis: I'm not comparing Honorius to John Paul II. I used the example of Honorius only to show that a pope can err in matters of the faith, but not lose his office because of it.

Mario: The authority of St. Robert Bellarmine -- Bob, I can't believe you wrote he has no authority because he is not the Magisterium. Neither was St. Thomas Aquinas the Magisterium and yet his authority is great. St. Robert Bellarmine was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI -- just in time, I would say. :) I know of no other Doctor who has written about the papacy in such detail as St. Robert. I think he is very much an authority on the subject, for he is a Teacher of the Church. I don't see why a Catholic could not listen to him on the issue of heretical "Popes."

R. Sungenis: St. Robert is my patron saint. If anyone would like to give him the benefit of the doubt, it would be me. But the fact is, whether it is St. Robert or St. Thomas, neither of them were the magisterium, and they would both admit to that fact, and did on several occasions. In fact, St. Robert was censored by the reigning pope for a disagreement they had over a point of doctrine.

Mario: But you write that if a Pope can err in statements not ex cathedra, then of course he won't lose his office if he errs. But Bob, Vatican I also teaches the Infallibility of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium. John Paul II teaches, and the bishops in union with him do as well, that religious liberty is a human right. This falls under the infallibility of the Universal Ordinary Magisterium and therefore proves JPII and his hierarchy to be bogus.

R. Sungenis: Vatian II teaches that religious liberty is a CIVIL human right, not a MORAL human right. I haven't seen John Paul II contradict that teaching, at least not in any official statement. And even if he did, such an error would not mean that he loses his office, since Honorius and many other popes have already shown us that papal error does not mean the pope loses his office.

Mario: Fr. Cekada has done an excellent job putting together the Church's laws and principles about papal elections and loss of office:
http://www.stjosephschurch.net/pope.htm

R. Sungenis: I have read Fr. Cekada's material. I believe he is in error. He simply has not thought out all the issues.

Mario: But let me ask you something:
--DO Catholics and Muslims worship the same God, as JPII and VII teach? (it says they ADORE Him; not just they PROFESS to do so)

R. Sungenis: I've already answered this question at length. You will find it in my dialogues with John Pacheco.

Mario: --Does man as man indeed retain the image and likeness of God, as JPII perfidiously teaches in Redemptor Hominis? This is what JPII teaches in his ordinary Magisterium.

R. Sungenis: I don't know anywhere this has been defined by the Church. If you know of something, I'd be interested to see it. As far as I understand, man retains the image of God but it is a marred image. James 3:9 understands the "likeness of God" as applying to mankind in general, but there is also the perfected image we attain as Christians (Romans 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18)

Mario: Concluding with St. Robert: "Then two years later came the lapse of Liberius, of which we have spoken above. Then indeed the Roman clergy, stripping Liberius of his pontifical dignity, went over to Felix, whom they knew [then] to be a Catholic. From that time, Felix began to be the true Pontiff. For although Liberius was not a heretic, nevertheless he was considered one, on account of the peace he made with the Arians, and by that presumption the pontificate could rightly [merito] be taken from him: for men are not bound, or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple [simpliciter], and condemn him as a heretic." (http://www.sedevacantist.com/bellarm.htm)

R. Sungenis: Unfortunately, one piece is missing, and that is verification of the magisterium. As it stands, anyone who "judged" Pope Liberius as an illegitimate pope would have been wrong, since it is clear from history that he was indeed a legitimate pope.

Mario: If you have not seen it yet, please see http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/Bob_Sungenis.html
I do not think too highly of the Dimond Brothers and think they are a scandal to the Faith in some ways, but they are right on quite a few issues.

R. Sungenis: The Dimond brothers are precisely the epitome of the vigilante judges I condemned in my essay. They are quite deceived. Stay far away from them, Mario. They will corrupt your soul.

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Question 40- Tsunami and Spinning

Hello,
I keep hearing in the news that the tsunami earthquake has sped the earth up in its rotation and caused a wobble. If there is a slight speeding up of the earth from the tsunami does this disturb the geocentric theory of a non spinning earth. What have you heard about this? Thank you
LS

R. Sungenis: LS, it's all theory. No one has measured an increase in anything and there is no wobble.

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Question 39- Is Fatima Relevant for Today? Part II

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

Thank you for responding. Allow me a few more thoughts.

There are only two kinds of revelation: public and private. Public revelation ended with the Apostles. Private revelations are the only thing to be expected now. Hence, Fatima cannot somehow be more than a private revelation, no matter how many people claim to have seen a miracle. Neither is there any sort of "middle-ground" revelation for it to occupy.

R. Sungenis: I didn't say there was a "middle ground." The fact is that the Church has understood Fatima to be the most important private revelation ever received. The mere fact that six popes felt in someway obligated to respond to the message of Fatima over the course of 70 years, some responding (or refusing to respond) due to more "private" revelations urging them to respond. So, if it is your thesis that Fatima is a revelation that assumes no priority, then why are all these popes rushing to obey its dictates? Why would John Paul II some 60 years later perform a consecration in obedience to Fatima, and do so acknowledging that his predecessor, Pius XII, did not fully accomplish said consecration? Why would the present Vatican go overboard in trying to convince the world that they have finally accomplished what they were told to do, and seek Sr. Lucia's approval of their efforts, if, as you claim, it holds no obligation for them and is merely a private revelation like all other non-Apostolic revelations?

Gregory: "Approval" by the Church does not require the assent of theological faith; it merely guarantees that one can credibly believe in the private revelation with a human faith. Since theological faith cannot be required, how much less could obedience from the hierarchy be required?

R. Sungenis: Who is talking about "theological faith"? Certainly not I. Fatima is just a simple command from heaven to consecrate Russia to Mary's Immaculate heart. We either accept it as it is or we don't. If we don't, as even the present Vatican admits, then there will be temporal consequences for the whole world, which may also lead to eternal consequences for those same souls who are victims of the "errors" spread by Russia. END

Gregory: In any case, a "direct message" is not a "direct command", and a direct command would only be binding on the immediate recipient. Think about it, Mr. Sungenis. You say you reject Medjugorje as a false apparition. I would agree, but let's remember that one of the key falsifying factors about Medjugorje are the supposed "threats" made by the Virgin to the local Bishop. That is a falsifying sign because no apparition of the Virgin can command or order around the hierarchy, with or without threats in case of noncompliance; she wouldn't dream of it. Thus, whatever Mary might have said at Fatima, it was not a command threatening dire consequences if not "obeyed".

R. Sungenis: I suggest you "think about it," Gregory. These words are plain:
"If they attend to My requests, Russia will be converted and the world will have peace. If not, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated."

How much more ominous and threatening would you like it to be in order to be convinced? END

Gregory: If apparitions could order Popes around, Mr. Sungenis, how many "visionaries" do you think would suddenly pop up, claiming to have orders direct from Heaven? Surely you can see the chaos that would result? Jesus would not confuse His Church like that.

R. Sungenis: Then perhaps you should ask the popes why they sought to obey Fatima, and why the popes who didn't obey Fatima saw the very threats predicted by Our Lady come true in their pontificates.

Gregory: In any case, Sr. Lucia's tale seemed to grow in the telling over the years. That is also a common factor in private revelations, i.e., the mystic reading into the vision their own thoughts, quite innocently in fact. That, I believe, may have happened with Sr. Lucia. In any case, no Pope would be bound by a vision unless he had it.

R. Sungenis: We are not interested in what you "think" may have happened. If you have documented evidence that the vision was embellished, then provide the evidence.

Gregory: Please do not compare Fatima to the Exodus. The Exodus occurred while the period of public revelation was still open. That time is now closed.

R. Sungenis: Gregory, I would suggest you cease trying to theologize when and how heaven is speaking to us and start listening to what heaven is saying.

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Question 38- Sr. Lucia and Consecration cover up

Dear Robert,

I have read the articles on the subject of the Fatima Consecration and Sr. Lucia, and I am fascinated. I have always felt there has been much amiss.

Regarding Sr. Lucia's letter of 1989 claiming that Russia was consecrated (contrary to her earlier statements), you have said that the letter was proven a forgery. Who examined it and made the determination it was a forgery? I need info to use when i debate this topic with family members.

Thank you, God be with you,

Johnathon S

R. Sungenis: Johnathon, here is some more information from my paper:

...Many point out, however, that Sister Lucia has never stated, privately or publicly, that she composed the statement, let alone sign it. She has never been known to type a letter, since all her correspondence thus far has been from her own handwriting. Her own blood-sister, Carolina, indicates that Sister Lucia does not even know how to type. And certainly, an admission by Sister Lucia that the March 25, 1984 consecration satisfied Our Lady's request would completely contradict every statement she has made on the requirements for the consecration over the previous sixty years, including her five denials of 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1989, respectively.

Other aspects of the November 8, 1989 letter also cause suspicion. First, in its June 26, 2000 press release, the Vatican does not provide the source of the November 1989 letter. Only the date is provided. Thus, it is not known to whom Sister Lucia was writing the letter; nor what prompted her to write it. The most obvious reason the Vatican wishes not to reveal the source is that they are quite aware that on October 22, 1990, a court-accredited forensic scientist who analyzed the signature on the four-page typewritten statement stated, in writing, that the person who signed it was not the same person who signed Sister Lucia's memoirs. If so, then this is a case of forgery perpetrated by the Vatican itself. The Vatican purports that Sister Lucia wrote the letter to a man named Walter Noelcker.

In addition, why didn't Sister Lucia reveal this earth-shattering information to the pope or her bishop, or to any number of important people, but instead she decides to reveal it to a man that she did not even know, and whom no one else knows? It appears that the Vatican has made it appear as such so that the November letter could not be traced. Even the letter itself contains problems, since it refers to a consecration made by Pope Paul VI in 1967, yet no such consecration occurred. He performed one in 1964. The letter also purports that a consecration could not be done during a council [Vatican Council II]. This flatly contradicts earlier statements from Sister Lucia that a council, because it gathers the world's bishops together, would be an ideal time to perform the consecration of Russia. In fact, several attempts to organize a consecration of Russia were made at Vatican II, but Paul VI always refused to allow it.

If, indeed, Sister Lucia had confirmed to Vatican officials that the consecration of Russia had been accomplished, there would have been no better way to silence the critics than to have her make a vocal presentation to the world at the time the Pope visited Fatima on May 13, 2000. When it is considered that in the Vatican's report on Fatima released June 26, 2000 there is no mention of a consecration of Russia, one can surmise that there is a concerted effort to remove the requirement to name Russia as a specific request of the Fatima revelation.

All of the Vatican maneuvering is done while Sister Lucia is still held in seclusion and disallowed from speaking about Fatima to anyone but Vatican officials. Perhaps frustrated and disenchanted, Sister Lucia did not desire to go to Fatima on May 13, 1991 during the Pope's visit. Hearing of her reluctance, the Vatican ordered her to attend. At Fatima, John Paul II met with Sister Lucia for about one half-hour. The curious lacuna coming forth from this meeting is that neither the Pope nor Sister Lucia expressed anything regarding the accomplishing of the consecration of Russia which supposedly took place on March 25, 1984, after five decades of waiting. One would think that if Sister Lucia indeed drafted the four typewritten pages stating that there was a valid consecration in 1984, that the Pope and she would be overflowing with satisfaction and exuberance as to its completion. Instead, the silence of the two is almost deafening. That silence is compounded by the fact that Sister Lucia is still bound by a code of silence - the same silence imposed on her since 1960. Why, one would ask, is she still told to keep silent if she has already agreed that the consecration has been accomplished in 1984 and that the Fatima vision has already been fulfilled? It seems that the only credible reason the Vatican still imposes the silence is that they know that if Sister Lucia speaks she will tell the same story she has told for sixty years prior - that the consecration of Russia has never been accomplished, including the consecration on March 25, 1984, which she already stated three times in the 1980's that a proper consecration did not occur. On August 29, 1989, Sister Lucia is purported to have composed a letter to a Sr. Mary of Bethlehem. The letter reads as follows:

Received your letter and, although I have very little time at my disposal I will answer your question which is: Is the consecration of the world, according to the request of Our Lady, made? On October 31, 1942, His Holiness Pius XII made the Consecration. I was asked if it was made as Our Lady requested. I answered "NO," because it was not made in union with all the bishops of the world. Later, on May 13, 1967, His Holiness Paul VI made the Consecration. I was asked if it was made as Our Lady requested. I responded "NO," for the same reason, it was not made in union with all the bishops of the world. On May 13, 1982, His Holiness John Paul II made the Consecration. I was asked if it was made. I responded "NO." It was not made in union with all the bishops of the world. Then this same Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II wrote to all the bishops of the world asking them to unite with him. He sent for the stature of Our Lady of Fatima - the one from the little Chapel to be taken to Rome and on March 25, 1984 - publicly - with the bishops who wanted to unite with His Holiness, made the Consecration as Our Lady requested. They then asked me if it was made as Our Lady requested, and I said, "YES." Now it was made. Why this urgency of God that this Consecration should be made in union with all the bishops of the world? Because this Consecration is a call for unity of all Christians - The Mystical Body of Christ - whose head is the Pope, the one, true representative of Christ on earth to whom the Lord confided the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and on this union depends the faith in the world and the charity which is the bond that must unite all of us in Christ, as that which He wants, and as He asked the Father: 'As you, O Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me...I in them, and You in Me; that they be made perfect in one, and the world may know that You have sent me and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:21-23). As we see of the union depends the faith and the charity that must be the bond of our union in Christ, whose true representative on earth is the Pope. A hug to your mother and my greeting to the rest of the family in union with prayers. Coimbra, August 29, 1989. Sr. Lucia.

There are several anomalies in this letter:

1) Since we know that the November letter which bore a signature purporting to be that of Sr. Lucia's was judged a forgery by a court-accredited forensic scientist, this does not speak well of the authenticity of the above letter written to Sr. Mary of Bethlehem.

2) For having such "very little time" to respond, the letter goes into detail that is not really needed in her response. It appears as if the person composing the letter has a specific agenda in mind. See below.

3) As it stands, the detail shows that all previous pontiffs had failed to consecrate Russia as Our Lady requested, including Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI. This means that the judgments of God (e.g., World War II and beyond) remained on the Church and the world for the 55 years from 1929 to 1984 - a stinging indictment against the pontiffs who the letter repeatedly states are: "...the one, true representative of Christ on earth to whom the Lord has confided the keys of the kingdom of heaven..." If four popes failed to consecrate Russia for 55 years, then that is one of the longest acts of neglect or disobedience ever perpetrated on the Church of Jesus Christ by his "one, true representative." Yet we are told that John XXIII introduced a "breath of fresh air" for the Church, and which was followed by the implementation of Paul VI, yet these two pontiffs were in direct disobedience to God regarding the consecration of Russia - a disobedience that, amazingly enough, God had already punished by sending World War II.

4) One of the more telling features of the letter, considering that it attempts to go into some detail regarding the past failed attempts to consecrate Russia, is that it ignores the 1952 consecration of Russia by Pope Pius XII, a consecration performed without the bishops. The letter only mentions the 1942 consecration in which Pius XII consecrated the world without the bishops. Why might the 1952 consecration be left out? Well, if someone had an agenda to make it appear that Sr. Lucia approved of John Paul's 1984 consecration of the "world," then they would have a vested interested in eliminating Pius XII's 1952 consecration of Russia, for this would show that the name of Russia is specifically required in the consecration. This is significant, since from 1929 to 1989 (70 years) we do not hear anything from either heaven, Sr. Lucia, or the Church stating that a consecration of the "world" is now sufficient to pass for the consecration of Russia.

5) We have already seen that after the 1984 consecration, Sr. Lucia stated four times (1984, 1985, 1987, 1989) that the consecration of Russia was not performed as Our Lady requested. So why in late 1989 would she suddenly change her mind?

6) The letter denotes that the reason for the "urgency" for the consecration is Because this Consecration is a call for unity of all Christians - The Mystical Body of Christ....and on this union depends the faith in the world and the charity which is the bond that must unite all of us in Christ, as that which He wants, and as He asked the Father...

As nice as it sounds, there is one big problem with that answer: It was never given by either Our Lady, Jesus, or even Sister Lucia in all the years prior as the reason Russia needed to be consecrated. There was one reason heaven gave for the consecration of Russia -- Russia was an evil nation which needed to be exorcized of her demons so that she would stop spreading her errors around the world. The stark contrast between the real Fatima message and the one perpetrated by the ecumenists could be no clear then this apparently forged letter.

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Question 37- Did Sr. Lucia Really Deny that the 1984 Consecration was Valid?

Mr. Sungenis,

"In any case, why is Bertone suddenly considering Sr. Lucia an expert witness and interpreter of the consecration considering the fact that on five separate instances between 1984 and 1989 Sr. Lucia is documented as stating that the 1984 consecration DID NOT fulfill Our Lady’s 1929 request to consecrate the nation of Russia?"

I see the claim made many times but no one ever offers any proof of it. Can you give a first-hand source?

R. Sungenis: Here is the excerpt from my paper on Fatima:
Concerning Russia, the Second Secret states:

In order to save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people do what I ask, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war [World War I] is going to end. But if people do not stop offending God, another even worse, will begin in the reign of Pius XI.
When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that He is going to punish the world by means of war, hunger and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father. To prevent this I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays.

If they attend to My requests, Russia will be converted and the world will have peace. If not, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated.

In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me: it will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

In an interview with Sister Lucia, she stated: "Many times the Blessed Virgin told me and my cousins Jacinta and Francisco that Russia is the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation."

NB: The evidence shows that on three separate occasions in the 1980's, Sister Lucia indicated, in no uncertain terms, that the consecration of Russia had not yet been performed.

First, on March 19, 1983, she stated to the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Sante Portalupi: "The consecration of Russia has not been made as Our Lady has determined." At this meeting, she then set forth the requirements to accomplish the consecration of Russia: (1) Russia must be clearly indicated as the object of the consecration; (2) each bishop must make a public and solemn ceremony in his own church simultaneous with the Pope. These requirements are clearly listed in the text of the Second Secret.
Second, in an interview which appeared in Sol de Fatima (September 1985), Sister Lucia was asked if the Pope fulfilled the request made by Our Lady at Tuy, Spain, when he consecrated the world on March 25, 1984. Sister Lucia answered: "There was no participation of all the bishops, and there was no mention of Russia." The interviewer then asked, "So the consecration was not done as requested by Our Lady?" Sister Lucia answered: "No. Many bishops attached no importance to this act." [This coincides with the previous statement cited from John Paul II that he did not consecrate Russia though he "tried to do everything possible in the concrete circumstances"]. On March 22, 1984, Sister Lucia was celebrating her seventy-seventh birthday at the Carmel of Coimbra. Her long-time friend, Eugenia Pestana, visited her, as was her annual custom. Eugenia asked her: "Lucia, Sunday is the Consecration?" referring to the March 25 date. Having already read the text of the Pope's speech, Sister Lucia answered: "That consecration cannot have a decisive character because Russia does not appear in it as the sole object of consecration." (Fatima, Tragedy and Triumph, pp. 172-173).
During this time, Cardinal Gagnon, in an interview with Fr. Caillon, states that the consecration of Russia has not been accomplished. In 1986, Maria do Fetal, cousin to Sister Lucia, publicly quotes Sister Lucia as saying that the consecration of Russia has not been performed. But similar to Fr. Coelho's reversal (previously cited), Maria will also mysteriously change her mind in 1989. In addition, in 1988, Cardinal Gagnon will castigate Fr. Nicholas Gruner for publishing his remarks in the Fatima Crusader, claiming they were not meant for publication.

Third, after interviewing Sister Lucia outside her convent, Enrico Romero publishes the contents on July 20, 1987. He reports that Sister Lucia again stated that the consecration of Russia requested by Our Lady of Fatima had not been accomplished. This is followed on October 25, 1987 with an acknowledgment by Cardinal Mayer, in front of an audience of a dozen Catholic leaders, that the consecration of Russia had not been accomplished.
Fourth, prior to July 1989, Cardinal Law of Boston is reported to have visited Sister Lucia to ask her about the consecration of Russia. Sister Lucia remarked: "Has it been done on the narrow road of collegial consecration that Our Lady demanded and has been wanting? No, that has not been done."

In July 1989, the screws begin to tighten. Sister Lucia is given explicit instructions from unidentified Vatican operatives ordering her to say that the consecration of Russia was accomplished in the March 25, 1984 ceremony. [As noted, in that particular consecration the Pope neither singled out Russia for consecration, nor did the world's bishops simultaneously participate in the consecration]. After achieving her silence, Archbishop Bertone then produces a four-page, typewritten statement, purportedly typed and signed by Sister Lucia herself on November 8, 1989, that the consecration of Russia had been accomplished. In the Vatican announcement Bertone states:

On 25 March 1984, in St. Peter's Square, while recalling the fiat uttered by Mary at the Annunciation, the Holy Father, in spiritual union with the bishops of the world, who had been convoked beforehand, entrusted all men and women and all peoples to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
He adds that the words of consecration included:

...this human world of ours...we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of concern for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples. In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.
Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished. Hence any further discussion or request is without basis. (Archbishop Bertone stated that the words of Sr. Lucia, in her letter of November 8, 1989, were, in Portuguese: "Sim, esta feit a, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Marco de 1984," which translates to: "Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984.")

Many point out, however, that Sister Lucia has never stated, privately or publicly, that she composed the statement, let alone sign it. She has never been known to type a letter, since all her correspondence thus far has been from her own handwriting. Her own blood-sister, Carolina, indicates that Sister Lucia does not even know how to type. And certainly, an admission by Sister Lucia that the March 25, 1984 consecration satisfied Our Lady's request would completely contradict every statement she has made on the requirements for the consecration over the previous sixty years, including her five denials of 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1989, respectively.

“According to Unity, what the nuns or Lucia said about the movie is unknown and may never be known because statements by Lucia or for that matter any Carmelite nun throughout the world are always sent through the bishop or the Holy Father first. Because of her power of influence, Lucia must be very careful what she says publicly since she is one of the possessors of the so-called ‘Third Secret of Fatima.’”

Wouldn't that also mean that her "denials" had to go through the Holy Father first?

God bless,
Donato

R. Sungenis: No, because her denials were made prior to the restrictions the Holy See placed on her in 1989.

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Question 36- Not By Faith Alone: Quick question

Mr. Sungenis,

I found your email address in a post on Amazon.com regarding your book “Not By Faith Alone”. I’m currently reading the book; accordingly, if this is truly the address of the author and you have 10 free minutes to respond, I would greatly appreciate clarification of a single issue:

When I first received your book, I wanted to see what it said about the deposit of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee (See Ephesians 1:14.)

I opened your book, and found where you referenced the verse. In your discussion, you pointed out that Paul says in Ephesians 5 that no greedy, impure, etc., etc., person has any inheritance in the Kingdom of God. You then used this as evidence that, “colloquially speaking”, God could refund the deposit to himself. While I see how you could arrive at that conclusion, I have a bit of a contention with it:

Paul says that, “having believed” we were marked with “a seal”, the “promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance”. (Italics added for emphasis). In your discussion of the verse, you claim that God would refund the deposit to himself, but if that’s true, you are calling God a liar (by staking the claim that the Holy Spirit never guaranteed anything, which the Bible says it does). Your point is well taken though, that Paul says as much in Ephesians 5 as he does in Ephesians 1; but that should not lead you to believe that God is lying in Ephesians 1:14. Rather, we must hold that both verses are indeed true.
My assertion, then, is that if it’s true that the deposit is a guarantee (as the Bible says), and it’s also true that no one who is greedy, impure, etc. has an inheritance (as the Bible says), then we can rest assured that the deposited Holy Spirit will ensure that those who have believed will be sanctified to a point to which they are no longer any of the things listed in Ephesians 5. It is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance, and it is given (as promised by God) when we have believed. I understand why you glossed over this passage, as it seems to debilitate the notion of “Not By Faith Alone”; rather, however, the passage affirms the duty of the believer to truly believe, while affirming that the Holy Spirit will work in the person to guarantee they receive the inheritance they have been promised.

Does my perspective here make sense, or am I missing the boat on something?

I thank you in advance for any time you devote to responding to this question.
Sincerely,
Mike B

R. Sungenis: Mike, I can assure you that I did not gloss over the verse, since all of the book deals with this very issue. The "guarantee" is real. God is not a liar, and the two verses can be reconciled. As long as we have the Spirit we have the guarantee of God's salvation, and thus God is completely faithful. He will not pull the rug out from under us, so to speak, after He promised to save us. This is precisely how I treat the passage of Romans 8:31-39 that Evangelicals so often use to attempt to prove that we cannot lose our salvation (You might want to read that in NBFA, pp. 268ff). God is always faithful. He guarantees that if we are faithful, He will save us. He is not like the Greek and Roman gods who one day favor you and the next day disown you based on nothing more than their whims. The question is whether we will remain faithful. As 2 Timothy 2:12-13 says:

"If we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful -- for he cannot deny himself."
Notice that God will "deny us" if we deny Him. That is, we lose our salvation. By the same token, it also says that even if we are faithless, God is still faithful. That is, He will always do what He promised. If He promises to save us if we are faithful, He will do so. Likewise, if He promises to deny us if we deny Him, He will do that also.

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Question 35- Fatima

Robert,
Thank you for all of the work that you are doing. I have a great deal of respect for you, and I agree with much of your criticism of the Church hierarchy. But I have to wonder if maybe a little caution may be in order in how we deal with issues pertaining to Fatima. Here is my concern. The magisterium is authorized by Christ to "make disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you." (Matt 28:19-20). The doctrines which the pope and bishops have magisterial authority over are usually understood to be the Scriptures and apostolic Traditions handed on from the apostles. It is understood that public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle. Where does this leave so called "private revelation?" My understanding is that private revelations may be given a sort of pastoral approval that they are "worthy of belief," but the faithful are never bound to believe or accept a private revelation. This raises a question regarding the request for the consecration of Russia. The request is essentially asking for the Church (pope and all bishops) to officially and publicly endorse a request that was given in a private revelation. It seems to me that this falls outside the purview of the pope's authority. This does not mean that a "consecration of Russia" is necessarily a bad idea. But if the pope is going to do it, it seems that he should do so based on the Church's apostolic Tradition rather than purely on a private revelation; hence, consecrating the whole world (including Russia) may fall within the Church's mandate better than singling out one nation based on a private revelation.

While Fatima is certainly approved, I think the following should be considered: Sr. Lucy's transcriptions of the Fatima events are not inspired or guaranteed to be accurate. That is, Fatima is a genuine miraculous revelation, but Sr. Lucy could have garbled the transcription of the events. We know that she has contradicted herself on other occasions as you report on your website. How do we know that her original transcription is correct?

The fact is that several popes (including Pius XII) have, for whatever reason, chosen not to specifically single out Russia for consecration, but have in some way shape or form attempted to perform a consecration. Should we really hold this against these popes? Should we hold a negative view of current and past Vicars of Christ based on the transcriptions of a single visionary?

Thanks,
Mark S

R. Sungenis: Mark, yes we should hold them accountable. They have held themselves accountable since they have attempted, but failed, to obey the request. Evidently, they aren't viewing Fatima as merely a "private" revelation, and indeed it is not. Fatima was substantiated for the whole world by the most spectacular miracle ever to be witnessed by human beings, the miracle of the sun. That immediately takes Fatima out of the "private" revelation area. Second, private revelations do not have heavenly anathemas attached to them for people that don't obey them. Our Lady said there would be a second world war if her requests were not heeded, and that is precisely what happened. Our Lady warned of a great falling away and a hierarchy that would become corrupt if her requests were not heeded, and that is exactly what has happened. Our Lady told the popes that She wanted the Third Secret read to the whole world by 1960, and of course they refused to do that as well. There has been no revelation from heaven that even comes close to the content and demands of Fatima, and that is why the Vatican bureaucrats are trying their best to dismiss it, since its message of gloom interferes with their humanistic peace plans.

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Question 34- CBR proves earth is moving, Part II

Actually, I do know what causes Doppler shift. It is an extremely well understood phenomenon. It is caused by three things: 1) rising out of or falling into a gravitational well, 2) expansion of the fabric of space-time as the universe expands (causes red shift only, not blue shift), and 3) motion of an object either toward or away from you (relative motion).

R. Sungenis: I'm sorry, Steve, you don't know for certain what causes Doppler shift because it hasn't been proven whether Doppler shift is intrinsic or extrinsic. You can side with the status quo if you like, but that is all you are doing. Arp, Burbidge, Van Flandern have much to say in opposition to you. As for #2, you would first have to prove there is such a thing as "space-time," since that is only a relativistic mathematical postulate, as is the so-called space time expansion.

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Question 33- CBR proves earth is moving

While we're on the topic of Doppler shift...I didn't want to bring up too many
points at once so as not to complicate things, but this is kind of along the
same lines...If you look at the cosmic background radiation, it is blue shifted
in one direction and red shifted 180 degrees opposite, which means that we are traveling in a particular direction in the universe. It does not change on a
annual basis. It is always the same. If we were stationary it would be
isotropic.

R. Sungenis: Steve, this just shows how conditioned your thinking is. The red/blue range of the CMBR doesn't prove the earth is moving, since it could equally mean that the CMBR is moving against an immobile earth.

I would like to talk with you about evolution some time as well. I too am a
creationist. Not because I think that evolution doesn't make sense logically
or physically, but because I have yet to see the evidence that it actually took place (the lack of evidence in the fossil record being the biggest problem). Maybe the evidence is there and I just haven't looked into it deeply enough (which I haven't), and I'm certainly no biologist or geologist. I'm not
opposed to believing evolution, especially if the evidence is there, as I don't
see that it's at odds with our faith, but for now I'm sticking with creation,
cause it makes the most sense. It may be a while before I'm ready to look into it and talk about it, though. I still have another 15 months before I finish
school, and I don't have a whole lot of time right now.

R. Sungenis: When you're free, I'd be glad to talk to you about it.

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Question 32- Geocentrism Disproved by Red Shift/Blue Shift Phenomenon, Part III

RS: In the geocentric system, precession will cause the star to travel toward the earth, then away from it, thus creating the needed motion for the Doppler shift. As far as the foci of the ellipse of the star is concerned, there is radial motion, but that radial motion is caused by the universe's precession.

Steve: I'm not really sure what more I can say on this. In no system, geocentric or otherwise, does precession cause radial motion. Precession is an angular motion. Only radial motion can cause a Doppler shift. No precession of anything will account for that.

R. Sungenis: Steve, first of all, you don't know what causes light's Doppler shift, so its quite presumptuous to say "only radial motion can cause a Doppler shift." Doppler shift for light is a very controversial topic. Be that as it may, IF Doppler shift is understood as a stretching or compressing of light's wave length, then all it would take for a Doppler redshift is for the object to be receding away from the observer, and vice versa for a Doppler blueshift. You can call it "radial" motion, but it really makes no difference. Precession will cause the star to recede and approach the observer just the same as radial motion.

RS: You're confusing two issues. I'm not arguing that the stars in the plane of the earth's axis have ellipses. I'm arguing that the stars in the equatorial plane have the same size ellipses, or stars in, say, a 45 degree declination have the same size ellipses. Also, I'm not referring to the precession occurring every 26,000 years, but the one that occurs annually, and which makes the stars form ellipses annually.

Steve: But those stars in the plane of the earth's axis do have ellipses.

R. Sungenis: I didn't say they didn't. They are just smaller than those in the equatorial plane.

Steve: Those perpendicular to the orbital plane (23.5 degrees from the poles) will not have any radial motion, and therefore no Doppler shift. By ellipses I assume you're talking about the side-to-side motion of the stars over the course of a year. All stars, no matter their location in the sky, will exhibit a side-to-side motion, though it is only detectable for those within about 50pc, which is very few in the grand scheme of things.

R. Sungenis: Regardless of whether it is detectable to 50 parsecs, the fact is that there are ellipses of those stars, which means that something has to be moving to cause the ellipses. Either it is the earth or it is the stars. Neither is provable because both cause the same effect.

Steve: And all stars at, in your example, a 45 degree angle, do not have the same size ellipses. For side-to-side motion it does not depend on the angle in the sky, only on their distance from us.

R. Sungenis: They will only vary as they recede from the center point of view. Other than that, the are proportionally the same, and quite different from stars at other declinations.

Steve: For the back-and-forth radial motion (the Doppler shift causing motion) it does depend on their angle in the sky (and not on their distance), and in that case all stars at a 45 degree angle do show the same annual Doppler shift. These observed behaviors of the stars are perfectly explained by an orbital motion of the earth around the sun, and can be explained by no other means. No rotation or precession of the universe can produce these results. Once again, there is no radial component to such motion.

R. Sungenis: Steve, no one, especially a relativist, is going to agree with your assertion that "These observed behaviors of the stars are perfectly explained by an orbital motion of the earth around the sun, and can be explained by no other means." Either the stars move or the earth moves. Both can cause the effect. That is a simple principle of relativity. Moreover, you seem confused concerning the connection between precession and radial motion with respect to the observer.

Steve: I don't mean to be harsh or offensive, but I would like to point out that you have had your facts wrong about the observed behavior of stars in both of your responses. You also have ignored the fact that no precession of any kind of anything causes radial motion. I have said this in all three of my emails so far. I hope that you will keep an open mind when considering these facts. If it helps at all, I do not want the $1000. You have this in writing, and you can hold me to it. If you do ultimately reject geocentrism and feel obligated in some way, just donate it to some good Catholic charity.

R. Sungenis: Steve, you haven't even begun to disprove geocentrism, and that is because you have failed to understand how movement of the stars against a motionless earth will cause a red or blue shift.

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Question 31- Geocentrism Disproved by Red Shift/Blue Shift Phenomenon, Part II

Precession is an angular motion. Only radial motion can cause a Doppler shift.

R. Sungenis: In the geocentric system, precession will cause the star to travel toward the earth, then away from it, thus creating the needed motion for the Doppler shift. As far as the foci of the ellipse of the star is concerned, there is radial motion, but that radial motion is caused by the universe's precession.

Also, an elliptical motion in the stars is only observable for stars within about 50pc, and then only with the most advanced equipment. The baseline that the earth's orbital motion around the sun provides is simply not big enough to provide parallax measurements further away than that. Most stars are stationary in the sky, with only a slight adjustment needing to be made each year to account for the 26,000 years precessional period of the earth, and of course for their tangential motion (relative to us) as they travel around the
galaxy. Doppler shifts are actually different for different stars, depending on their declination. Those that are straight up from an angle of 23.5 to the earth's poles show no annual Doppler shift because they are perpendicular to earth's orbital motion around the sun and therefore have no radial component to their motion relative to us. Those in the plane of our motion around the sun show the greatest annual Doppler shift. In between they show varying degrees of Doppler shift. There are most definitely not all equal.

Peace of Christ,
steve

R. Sungenis: You're confusing two issues. I'm not arguing that the stars in the plane of the earth's axis have ellipses. I'm arguing that the stars in the equatorial plane have the same size ellipses, or stars in, say, a 45 degree declination have the same size ellipses.
Also, I'm not referring to the precession occurring every 26,000 years, but the one that occurs annually, and which makes the stars form ellipses annually.

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Question 30- Geocentrism Disproved by Red Shift/Blue Shift Phenomenon

Hi, my name is Steven. I have a B.S. in physics from Xavier
University, I am 1 class away from finishing my Masters in Physics at the
University of Cincinnati, and I'm in my first (of two) years in pursuit of
another Masters in Medical Physics. While I don't profess to have the best
understanding of physics (by a long shot), I certainly know more than the
average schmo.

I'm a convert to the faith from atheism, and I have a lot of really solid
Catholics that I hang out with these days. One of them mentioned your name, saying that you have an excellent guide to one of the gospels. At least, that's what I thought he said, but I don't think I saw any such thing in your books section. Maybe I'm remembering that wrong, or maybe he was talking about the Apologetics Study Bible. Anyway, I'm getting off track. He also mentioned, knowing that I'm a physicist, that you believe in geocentrism. I found that a bit odd, so I went to your website to check it out.

I skimmed some of the previous responses you gave to challenges, and while
there are a number of points that I could argue against from topics mentioned
in those responses, I think probably the most compelling proof that we're in
motion is something that I don't think I saw mentioned anywhere else. If you
pick any given star and watch it over the course of a year, it will be red
shifted one half the year, and blue shifted the other half. There is no other
explanation for this other than we're in motion around the sun. If the stars
we simply revolving around us there would be no Doppler shift (only relative
radial motion produces a Doppler shift, orbital motion does not.). If they
were in orbit around the sun, which in turn was in orbit around us, then we
would see the full red and blue shift once per day instead of once per year.
I hope that made sense. I've found that when I try to explain physics to
people that I don't always do the best job. I'd love to hear your response to
this, and I hope that you are open to this message. I think I read somewhere
on your website that you're not opposed to dropping geocentrism if the evidence is against it, which I greatly respect. That's why I converted to Catholicism, because the evidence was too compelling to believe otherwise.

=====
Peace of Christ,
steve

R. Sungenis: Steve, thank you for the letter. Yes, I assume your friend was referring to the Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, Vol. 1, The Gospel According to Matthew. We have it available for 27.95 if you would like a copy.

Regarding the Doppler shift of stars, in Tychonic system, there is an annual precession of the universe taking place. This is the same precession that causes the elliptical movement of the stars we see each year, and it is the same precession which will cause the variation in the Doppler shift we see in the same year. Thus, your objection is easily answered by the geocentric model.

Incidentally, one important fact from the ellipses of the stars is that they are all the same size. This isn't good news for the heliocentric/Big Bang universe, since the further away a star is, the smaller its annual ellipse should be. Since the ellipses are the same size, this argues more for the stellatum-type of star placement common to modern geocentric views.

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Question 29- Can you help find good Catholic science material for homeschoolers?

Can you help find good Catholic science material for homeschoolers?

Although there is still a shortage of up to date Catholic materials on natural science, you can find some very good materials in the Seton Home Study catalog. You can also find many things that are of great interest to young people and not at all anti-Catholic at the websites of the Institute of Creation Research and Answers in Genesis. (Just type the names of these organizations into a search engine to locate their websites.) Their approach to creation and Genesis 1-11 is actually much closer to the authentic traditional Catholic doctrine than what is being taught in 99% of Catholic schools and universities today. You will also find some very good books and videos in the resource section of their website. Another website with a lot of excellent material on it is Dr. Walt Brown's website. (Just type In the Beginning Dr. Walt Brown into your search engine.) Dr. Brown's life's work, In the Beginning, is a comprehensive defense of special creation and a global flood from the perspective of biology, physics, and chemistry, and could provide an excellent basis from which to launch your children on an investigation of many fascinating topics in those areas of learning. Our advisory council members are not all equally impressed with Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory to explain the global flood, but his book has been highly praised by traditional Catholic scholars, including Monsignor McCarthy, the superior of Fr. Brian Harrison.

I have also attached our Kolbe Center book and tape order form which contains a number of items that are quite easy to understand with an elementary knowledge of natural science. I particularly recommend the videos "Evolution:Fact or Belief?" and "Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution" I and II, as well as the book by Eric Bermingham and the book Special Creation Rediscovered by Australian author Gerry Keane. You can find additional materials on our website that may be helpful - www.kolbecenter.org

If you are interested in laboratory science, two other ideas that have helped other home schoolers are 1) to pray and look for a good Catholic in your community who would be willing to teach, for example, a biology or physics course with a lab, or 2) investigate the course offerings at your local community college. The teaching at the community colleges is sometimes much better than it is at universities, and, depending on the community, some of the teachers can be quite sound in their beliefs and morals.

I am about to set off for Russia to represent the Kolbe Center at a conference in Moscow sponsored by the education department of the Russian Orthodox Church. The main Russian Orthodox clergyman (who is also a professional geologist) responsible for organizing the conference has already agreed to publish a statement stating that the promotion of theistic evolution by Vatican-approved Roman Catholic theologians is an obstacle to the restoration of unity between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches! Please pray for the success of this mission according to God's Holy Will.
Please keep the Kolbe Center in your prayers.

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Question 28- Keating debate on geocentrism

Bob,

What's your concise Catholic Answer to Keating's seemingly telling
point:

"I think it's telling that those who defend Sungenis's theory decline
to confirm the point I made, that the stars must be traveling 10,000
times the speed of light, if the nearest stars are as far away as
astronomers say they are and if the stars circle the Earth each day. "

I thought I said: "At 26.5 light years (your example), then the
combined velocity of aether and the stars would be about 10,000 X the
speed of light...."

Do you really maintain that the ether disc is moving at that speed, and
the stars within it?

Chris

R. Sungenis: Yes, and here's the follow up I gave to Keating, showing that from Einstein's General Relativity, we can certainly assert such a condition:

"Relative to the stationary roundabout [Earth], the distant stars would have a velocity rω [radius x angular velocity] and for sufficiently large values of r, the stars would be moving relative to O’ [the observer] with linear velocities exceeding 3 x 108 m/sec, the terrestrial value of the velocity of light. At first sight this appears to be a contradiction…that the velocities of all material bodies must be less than c [the speed of light]. However, the restriction u < c = 3 x 108 m/sec is restricted to the theory of Special Relativity. According to the General theory, it is possible to choose local reference frames in which, over a limited volume of space, there is no gravitational field, and relative to such a reference frame the velocity of light is equal to c. However, this is not true when gravitational fields are present. In addition to the lengths of rods and the rates of clocks the velocity of light is affected by a gravitational field. If gravitational fields are present the velocities of either material bodies or of light can assume any numerical value depending on the strength of the gravitational field. If one considers the rotating roundabout as being at rest, the centrifugal gravitational field assumes enormous values at large distances, and it is consistent with the theory of General Relativity for the velocities of distant bodies to exceed 3 x 108 m/sec under these conditions." (An Introduction to the Theory of Relativity, W. G. V. Rosser, London, Butterworths, 1964, p. 460).

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Question 27- Is there a difference between Justification and Salvation?

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

I have read on your question and answer section some things you have written about "Feeneyism", both from the most recent list and from past lists. I have seen that you do not condemn those who do not believe in the baptism of desire theory, yet you did say that Fr. Feeney and all who believe that justification and salvation are not synonymous are in error. It has been my understanding that justification is the process by which a person can obtain salvation. Salvation is simply the realization of justification, when a person actually enters into the Kingdom of God. Now, how is it incorrect to say that a person can be justified (or better termed: in the process of justification, i.e. be being justified) yet not be saved? To say that a person who is on the WAY to heaven yet unbaptized would go to Hell before baptism is not any less logical than saying that a person who is on the WAY to hell (in a state of mortal sin) will not necessarily end up in hell. Just because a person is on the way to heaven, it does not follow that he will certainly go there if he dies justified, just as if a person is on the way to hell, it does not follow that he will certainly go to hell. Justification is a process, not a period set in stone. It is in a way the "conditioning" of the soul in order to prepare it to receive the Sanctifying Grace at Baptism. If what I have said is in error, as you have said on your website in time's past, please show me where the Church teaches the definition of justification and salvation as being synonymous. If you cannot do that, then I do not think you have place to say that it is erroneous to hold such a position, but if you cannot prove this from Church teaching, please at least provide some evidence for what you are saying, such as writings from the Church Fathers.
Thank you. God bless.

Sincerely,
M.

R. Sungenis: M., although I can make a case, still, the burden is not on me to prove my case. The burden is on you, since Chapter 4 of Trent treats "justification" as that which translates us from the kingdom of Adam and Satan to the kingdom of Christ. That translation occurs at baptism. That is the essence of salvation. Accordingly, Trent never makes a distinction between salvation and justification for that very reason, and I don't know any other Church document that makes such a distinction, either. Scripture refers to the translation with multiple terms (e.g., justification, sanctification, salvation, indwelling, baptism, etc). So if you insist there is a distinction, then the burden is on you to show where either Scripture, the Church or Tradition makes the distinction. Not only must you show that they make the distinction, but you must also show that they apply it to the issue of whether a person who is baptized is understood as justified but not saved. I have never even seen a theologian discuss the issue, let alone apply it in the way you are demanding. Until you come up with the evidence, then I insist you are teaching an error. I think the problem is that you are elevating "salvation" to a pristine place of logic in order to save your argumentation. But neither Scripture nor the Church have done so. They have understood that a person can lose his "salvation" just as they have said a person can lose his "justification."

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Question 26- Is Fatima Relevant for Today?

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

While I realize you have a passionate attachment to Fatima, I would earnestly suggest you are overreacting. First, as you are well aware, Our Lady of Fatima is a private devotion. In point of fact, a man could decide Fatima did not actually happen and still be in good standing with the Church. Theological faith cannot be enjoined by the Church with respect to a private revelation, no matter how profitable devotion to it might be.

R. Sungenis: Gregory, Fatima is no longer a "private" revelation. Not only has it been approved by the Church since its inception, but it was verified as a direct message from heaven for the benefit of the world by one of the most miraculous happenings since the dawn of time (e.g., the miracle of the sun). As we speak, it is anything but a private revelation. Moreover, the popes themselves have recognized it as more than a private revelation, since everyone of them since Pius XI has had to make a decision of whether and how they were going to obey it. In 1936, Pius XI was warned directly from heaven that if he didn't obey it, then the world would suffer another World War. After the war started, Pius XII tried to perform the consecration in 1942, but he failed to mention Russia by name, and the war lasted another three years because of it. Forty two years later, John Paul II treats Fatima as no ordinary revelation that can be ignored, since he too tried to make a consecration in obedience to the 1929 command of Our Lady. No other revelation in history has caught the attention of the reigning pontiffs, and the world, than Fatima has. They knew God wasn't kidding around when he made the sun dance in the sky for 12 minutes and change into many different colors.
With that in mind, I would caution that any alleged failure to obey a request stemming from a private revelation could hardly be the basis for chastisements from God. On this point you seem to be confused. When you write: "Is it possible for Church officials to fall into such blindness that they actually ignore a direct command from heaven?", I can only say you are mistaken. The Virgin Mary did not "command" anyone, but only allegedly made a *request*. There is a critical difference there. A command stemming from a private revelation is really only binding on the immediate recipient, i.e., the mystic.

R. Sungenis: I don't know what kind of "request" would insist that Russia be consecrated to the immaculate heart, but then threaten another World War if the consecration wasn't done. Let's not quibble about whether messages from heaven are "requests" or "commands." Since we know heaven is infallible and wouldn't tell us anything that was not good for us or expected of us, there really is no difference between the two terms.
Moreover, the Virgin Mary would not, cannot, command the Church hierarchy. She is our Mother in the order of grace, not ordination. Indeed, there are examples of other private revelations where the mystic was allegedly ordered to do one thing by direct command of Jesus, yet the mystic's superior ordered her not to do it. The mystic obeyed the superior, and Jesus praised
her, saying that obedience to his representatives pleased him more than obedience to visions. (I think that was the Sacred Heart visionary; I'm sorry I
cannot remember the exact details).

Kindly regards,

Gregory Dulmes

R. Sungenis: Gregory, that's like saying that God told the Israelites to leave Egypt, but Aaron decided that it was better for the people to go back to Egypt, and then we praise Aaron for displaying his authority over the people. As for your assertion that Mary cannot command the Church hierarchy, I think you need a better understanding of what a Queen's function is. Mary has been designated Queen of heaven, and queens have royal power over their subjects. It is the very reason She could threaten the world with another world war if they did not heed her words, and the message of Fatima threatens a lot more if its words are not heeded.

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Question 25- Speed of Starlight

Dear Mr. Sungenis -:

Doesn't the fact we can see light from distant stars prove the universe is billions of years old? Wouldn't it take millions of years (even at the speed of light) for that starlight to get here?

God bless,

Thom

R. Sungenis: Thom, we simply don't know what the speed of light is outside of our immediate domain. It may be 300,000 km/sec, but it may not be. Most people don't know this, but even Einstein's relativity did not limit the speed of light to 300,000 km/sec. The limitation for light's speed is only true for Special Relativity, in the absence of a gravitational field. General Relativity allows light to assume any speed, and it allows any object to assume any speed. For all we know, the speed of light could be infinite.

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Question 24- How Does one understand Geocentrism?

Dear Robert Sungenis

Happy New Year!

I have a simple question regarding Geocentricism! I am now taking Astronomy
(I am amazed at all the assumptions about the evolution of the cosmos
disguised as fact unfortunately). At any rate, I am still not so sure about
geocentricism! Most special creationists (literal 7 day creation, global
flood, etc.) are heliocentric, and I hear the consensus is divided in the
Kolbe Center! I found Dr. Robert Bennett to complicated to understand down
in Virginia (I am not a physics major!) I am now aware of basic things like
Kepler and Newton's laws since I am taking astronomy (I am a history and
religion major, not a science major!) My question is this, if gravitation
is consistent (for example on Mars, earth, the moon) and we can see that a
person can jump highest on the earth, second highest on Mars, and lowest
here because of gravity (as you say, whatever gravity is? I guess the best
definition we have is Newton's laws!) then is it not reasonable to conclude
scientifically that the other bodies in the solar system move in the
elliptical orbits around the sun (since all the mathematics are right as
well! Anyway, I am looking forward to reading Galileo was wrong, but till
then, I would like to get an understanding of a SIMPLE Geocentric
explanation in mind. Currently, It's much easier to argue that a cell more
complex than New York city had to be specially designed, that their could
not have been suffering and death before original sin, evidence for Noah's
flood, but Robert you are currently my geocentric source! I am sincerely
looking for some information to show it as a possible scientific model since
you seem to show some good scriptural evidence for the possibility, please
feel free to post my response on your question and answer board! God bless,

George A, Sudbury

R. Sungenis: George, let me start out with a simple demonstration and a few quotes. We can easily put the heliocentric versus geocentric controversy on a level playing field and make even the most doubting-Thomas sit up and give respect. If the opportunity affords itself, make a visit to the nearest planetarium. If it is a good one, inside you will find what astronomers know as an orrery. An orrery is a moving mechanical model of the sun and planets. Since almost all orreries are heliocentric models, the sun will be placed in the center and all the planets will be revolving around the sun in their proportionate sizes and speeds. If you hold the sun stationary in your hand you can watch all the other planets revolve around it. But with a repositioning of your hand, the same orrery will demonstrate geocentrism. Instead of holding the sun in your hand, hold the Earth. You will now see the sun and the planets revolve around the Earth, and they will do so in precisely the same relation to one another as when you were holding the sun. If you cannot locate an orrery, draw the sun and planets on a piece of paper and place the point of a pencil first on in the middle of the sun and then rotate the paper; then, put the pencil in the middle of the Earth and rotate the paper, imagining the planets revolving at their own paces. The only difference will be that the sun will assume the orbit the Earth had. As one astronomer reminds us: “The equivalence of these two pictures was already known to Apollonius, who lived in the third century, B.C., long before Ptolemy (ca. A.D. 150).” Or as Thomas Kuhn has noted about the above demonstration:

Now imagine that…the whole mechanism is picked up…and put down again with the sun fixed at the central position formerly held by the earth…All of the geometric spatial relations of the earth, sun and Mars…are preserved…and since only the fixed point of the mechanism has been changed, all the relative motions must be identical…the Tychonic system is transformed to the Copernican system simply by holding the sun fixed instead of the earth. The relative motion of the planets are the same in both systems, and the harmonies are therefore preserved.

Honest scientists admit these facts. Among them is Fred Hoyle, one of the most outspoken and candid astronomers of the twentieth century, unafraid to cross the scientific picket line and admit the errors and shortcomings of his own field of endeavor. He writes:

We might hope therefore that the Einstein theory, which is well suited to such problems, would throw more light on the matter. But instead of adding further support to the heliocentric picture of the planetary motions, the Einstein theory goes in the opposite direction, giving increased respectability to the geocentric picture. The relation of the two pictures is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation, and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view.
Science writer Kitty Ferguson goes one step father:

Fred Hoyle has argued that a subtler understanding of Einstein’s theories reveals they may actually slightly favor an Earth-centered model. Had Galileo had Hoyle at his elbow, he might have produced the book that would have pleased the pope and not have been tried for heresy!”

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Question 23- Prophetic Cessation

Robert,
Its generally accepted that there was a 'cessation of Israelite prophecy' where, as NewAdvent describes, the prophetic institution ceased to exist as its necessity had ceased. "Religious revelation and the moral code expressed in Holy Writ were full and clear. The people were being instructed by the scribes and doctors- a living magistracy, fallible, it is true, and bound overmuch by letter of the law, but withal zealous and learned."
As Catholics we believe that the Scriptures were not completed, but I am content to accept that the Jews felt they had what they needed. The writings we refer to as Deutero-canonical were written by men who spoke for God, which is the definition of a prophet. Clearly cessation must mean something other than merely God ceasing to speak through his people. Also upon the birth of Christ we have both a man and a woman prophesying in the temple. Is the institution of prophecy different from the act of prophecy? Could you explain?
Kelly

R. Sungenis: Kelly, the only reason prophecy would have ceased is not because the people didn't need it, but because the people were turning their backs upon God (Amos 8:11-12; Psalm 74:9; 1 Sam 3:1; Ezk 7:26). This is often missed by the historical critics, since they have left out the spiritual dimension of the dynamic between God and men. Prophecy of good things increases when God's blessing is given, as you see when Zechariah is prophesying during the birth of Jesus. Likewise, Pentecost is an outpouring of prophecy for the same reason. As such, the gift of prophecy and the prophetic office have never been closed. Fatima is a good example of how recent it is, as well as all the other Marian apparitions. Unfortunately, like Israel's prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, et al), the message today from Mary is God's ensuing judgment for our unrepentant sins.

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Question 22- Catholic or Public School?

Mr. Sungenis,
I am a Catholic grade school teacher who finds it difficult to teach the true Faith without getting into trouble. First of all, the curriculum is vapid and empty at best, and misleading at worst. I regularly put together supplemental material to fill in the gaping holes, but these handouts tend to cause problems. When I teach doctrines such as the Catholic Church is the True Church, or non-Catholics need to convert and that no one is saved outside of the Church, inevitably these things get repeated at home to confused parents, and the result is that they complain to the principal (a nun) and I receive either a reprimand or an admonition to "not be too Catholic." I've endured this for nearly ten years at three different schools, and with financial support and enrollment consistently decreasing, I'm wondering what you think about a Catholic teacher switching to a public school. Would it be wrong to teach in a school where God is ignored? Also, should the training of children in the Faith be left entirely to the parents, and "Catholic" schools be eliminated? Or, would I be wiser to continue carrying this cross in the hope that I'm doing God's will and with His grace perhaps reaching some students? I really don't know what to do. There are no priests here that I trust with help in discernment, and I need some sort of direction because my patience and nerves are wearing thin, and it would be nice (although not essential if it's not God's will) to have some sort of job and financial security for myself. Your guidance would be very much appreciated in this matter as I respect your opinion and wisdom a great deal. May God's blessings be yours in the New Year.
Andrew

R. Sungenis: Andrew, as long as you stay there, you'll have to preach the truth without compromises. I would suggest you bath your problem in prayer, however. Seek the Holy Spirit to open the minds of the children and parents before you teach them. Do it every day. It is not you that is going to change them. The Holy Spirit is only going to use you as a tool to reach them, but their hearts must be open before they can be taught, and that only comes from the Spirit.

Of course, there is a way to preach the truth and there is a way not to do so. Sometimes we get so bull-headed that we are like bulls in a china shop when we teach people. We have to have much patience and imagination when giving truth to ignorant people.
Still, there are situations that, even after prayer and patience, the people are obstinate. If that is the case, then shake the dust off your feet and leave. If you need to support yourself by taking a job in a public school, so be it. Moses was in Egypt for 40 years, Daniel dealt with Nebuchadnezzer for a while, David dealt with foreign kings, etc. Who knows. You may find some people there who want to listen to the truth.
I hope I have been of some help.

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Question 21- Did Mary experience pain during childbirth?

I have read or heard that Mary did not suffer pain during childbirth,
that Jesus was born without destroying Mary's virginity.

This confuses me because Rev 12:2 ("She was pregnant and cried out in
pain as she was about to give birth") states otherwise.

Please clarify this for me.

Thanks

Rich M

R. Sungenis: Rich, Apocalypse 12 is not a literal account of Mary's delivery of Jesus, but a symbolic account, as is the rest of the Apocalypse. So we should draw any conclusions from it regarding the physical birth of Jesus.

The perpetual virginity of Mary has traditionally been taught in three aspects: (1) the conception of Christ (virginitas ante partum); (2) the birth of Christ (virginitas in partu); and (3) Mary's virginity after the birth of Christ (virginitas post partum).
A few of the Fathers referred to these three aspects (e.g., Augustine, Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory Nyssa, Pope Leo I).

Women inherited suffering in childbirth because of original sin (Gen 3:16). Since Mary did not have original sin it appears she might have been free of pain in childbirth, but this is not necessarily the case, since Mary would have suffered every other pain humans have. Original sin refers to the spiritual effects and secondarily the physical. My inkling is that, since the Church has never said whether Mary died before she was Assumed into heaven, they are not going to say whether she had pain in giving birth to Jesus, since both are tied to whether Mary suffered the physical effects of original sin.

The questionable aspect is Mary's virginity in giving birth to Christ. Some of the Church Fathers from the west said Mary construction remained physical intact. Pope Leo the Great remarked: "She brought Him forth without the loss of virginity, even as she conceived him without its loss, born from the Virgin's womb because it was a miraculous birth."
Some of the eastern Fathers referred instead to Mary's freedom from pain in giving birth to Jesus.

The Church never has never given an official interpretation of the "virginitas in partu," however. Except that in 1960, the Holy Office cautioned against opening up discussion on this issue in which was "opposed to the traditional doctrine of the Church and the devotional sense of the faithful."

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Question 20- Heliocentrism $1000 challenge

The following is a proof of the sun as the centre of the solar system, based on nothing more than indisputable astronomical observations.

Measurements of the positions of the planets relative to the sun in the night sky show two groupings. One group of planets always appear within a small distance from the sun, so are only visible for a short period around sunrise and sunset. The other group can appear appear elsewhere in the sky, at other times of night. These groups are termed the inferior and superior planets respectively. The inferior planets group consists of Mercury and Venus; the superior planets group consists of the other planets of the solar system (of course excluding earth). If one studies the inferior planets more closely, a precise value for the distances that the planets are seen from the sun can be observed, for Mercury 28 degrees, for Venus 45 degrees. These values are consistent with these objects lying between the Earth and the sun, with an orbit of these objects around the sun, with the orbit of of Venus being further from the sun (closer to Earth) than Mercury. The fact that the other planets can be observed at night, away from the sun, means that their orbits must be larger than those of earth, i.e. must be further from the sun than earth. This concept is summarized in the attached figure (planet_terms.gif). In this diagram the earth is the blue green object, and the maximum eastern/western elongations refer to the maximum angular distance of the inferior planet (eg. Venus) from the sun (eg. 45 degrees). Notice how these maximum values arise from the tangents of the planets orbit around the sun, so a smaller orbit would produce smaller angles from the sun, exactly what we observed for Mercury with respect to Venus.

The fact the Mercury and Venus are orbiting the sun can be established from looking at the appearance of Venus at different times of the year. Like the Moon, Venus has phases, where it appears different shapes. These phases are shown in the second attached figure (venus_phases.gif). The black crescents indicate the shape seen from Earth. The reason for these changes in shape is as Venus rotates around the sun, the lit face (lit by the light from the sun) becomes increasingly obscured to an observer on earth, as Venus progresses in its orbit from the point marked 'full' to the point marked 'new' (see planet_terms.gif). This again shows that venus is orbiting the sun, an a smaller orbit than that of the earth. This point can be demonstrated yet again from the phases of Venus, the full disk of Venus is never visible from earth, since at the point marked 'full' (see planet_terms.gif), the sun is in between Venus and Earth, blocking our vision. Likewise, when Venus is at the point marked 'new' (see planet_terms.gif), the lit side of Venus completely faces the sun, so Venus cannot be seen from Earth.
All of the observations completely support the model of the sun being the centre of the solar system, and are irreconcilable with a geocentric solar system (or indeed universe). Feel free to disagree, if you can explain these results fully within the context of a geocentric universe in your reply.

Awaiting your reply,

Scott
The diagrams have been supplied courtesy of Cornell University Astronomy 201 notes, CLICK HERE

R. Sungenis: Scott, thanks for responding to the challenge. We haven't had one in a while.
As for the issue of the phases of Venus, it is true that the Ptolemaic system would have a problem with it, unless the system could be revised somehow. But that is not the geocentric model we are advocating. The Tychonic model, formulated by Tycho de Brahe in the 1500s, is the modern geocentric model. The only thing different from it and the Copernican model is that the Earth is in the center instead of the sun. In the Tychonic model the planets go around the sun, and the sun goes around the Earth. In the Ptolemaic model, the sun and planets go around the Earth.

As for diagrams, I suggest you consult Kitty Ferguson's book, "Measuring the Universe," p. 93 where she shows that the Tychonic model answers the phases of Venus, while the Ptolemaic model does not.

Thank you for your challenge.
Robert Sungenis

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Question 19- The meaning of "sacrifice"

Hi! Robert,

Would you please clarify what
is meant by the word sacrifice
when we say, "Pray brethren,
that our sacrifice may be acceptable
etc.,etc.

Are we praying to God to accept
the sacrifice Jesus made for us on
the cross for our sins, or do we personally
make some sort of sacrifice and offer it up
to God as repentance for our sins?
In other words, what is the idea
behind the use of this word at mass?

I'd appreciate your explanation on this.
Thanks!,
Joe

R. Sungenis: Joe, we are asking God the Father to accept the sacrifice of His Son that we are offering to Him in the Eucharist. Since everything in the Mass is voluntary (that is, the Son's sacrifice to the Father is voluntary, and the Father's acceptance of the gift of sacrifice is voluntary), then we cannot demand that the Father accept it. He is not legally required to do so, or even personally required. He does it because He is good and honorable within Himself. As I said so often in Not By Faith Alone, God doesn't owe us anything. Each time we address the Father we do so on the basis that He does not have to accept our offer or our prayers, but He does so because He decides to do so. His personal acceptance is based on how worthy is the sacrificer and the sacrifice. Since Christ is the most worthy sacrificer and sacrifice possible, we can be confident that God will accept it.

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Question 18- Age of Earth/Universe

Hello, happy holidays, and God bless!

Mr. Sungenis, I was simply wondering how old the Earth/Universe is, and why? Thank you in advance for your time and any help you are able to give.

Oh, and I'm especially interested in how to understand the dates of the early Genesis genealogies, as in what years correspond to when Adam died, and so on. Thanks again!
In Christ,
Louis

R. Sungenis: Louis, the earth is no older than about 13000 years. The furthest the Genesis genealogies can take us back is to about 11,000 BC.

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Question 17- Accusations against Bishop Loverde

"My old diocese has a Bishop (Loverde) who has had a boyfriend for 19 years; has a diocese that is upwards of 60% homosexual priests; had signed two civil rights bills for homosexuals when he was bishop in Connecticut" (Fr. Haley I've read about elsewhere.)

Thanks,
Greg W

R. Sungenis: Greg, this information has been documented in The Washington Times and numerous other newsworthy outlets. It's no secret any longer. Fr. Haley spoke about Loverde's "companion" as well as the fact that 60% of the priests in Arlington were homosexuals, and this is corroborated by many sources, including the Times. As for Loverde's signing of two homosexual civil rights bills while a bishop in Connecticut, that comes from The Remnant, October 2001 issue, which I have on file. In case you haven't followed the issues, here is a representative sample of Loverde's doings:

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20041115-124042-2061r.htm

www.truthinarlington.com

http://www.rcf.org/

http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/2003Feb/febfor1.htm

http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/2003Feb/febfor2.htm

http://www.rcf.org/docs/haleyboysclub.htm

http://www.faithfulvoice.com/applicants.htm

As for the figure of 60% homosexual priests in the Arlington Diocese, that comes from the Washington Times article, printed in full here:
Homosexual priests, not solely pedophiles, are at the root of the sexual-abuse crisis.

Silenced priest warns of gay crisis Julia Duin THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Arlington Diocese is one of a few in the country that refuses ã at least on paper ã to sponsor homosexual applicants for seminary. Most dioceses admit such applicants with a variety of sexual histories, although the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will reconsider this policy at its June meeting in Chicago.

Starting today, 290 of the nation's Catholic bishops will meet at the Capitol Hyatt for their yearly business meeting and to tie up loose ends on the massive sexual-abuse crisis that has shaken the U.S. Catholic Church to its core in the past two years.

Although it's been less than a year since the church revealed that there were 10,667 cases of abuse committed by 4,392 priests in a 50-year period, the message at the meeting will be that the crisis is under control.
But it's far from over, says a local Catholic priest who says the true source of the crisis is a priesthood that is "honeycombed" with homosexual clerics, especially in the Diocese of Arlington.

However, attempts by the Rev. James Haley, 48, to persuade his bishop of the problem have backfired. After hearing from the priest about numerous instances of homosexual activity among diocesan clergy, Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde ordered the priest silenced Oct. 23, 2001. This "precept of silence" ã usually only employed during church trial proceedings ã is rarely used to silence a whistleblower.

Thus, in the past three years, Father Haley's case, which also involves accusations of sexual misconduct against him, has become a cause celebre among many Catholics in the Diocese of Arlington.

It's also attracted the attention of the Vatican, which summoned him to appear before an ecclesiastical court in March. Church officials held two more hearings on the matter this summer and last week scheduled a fourth hearing in conjunction with the bishops' meeting. Less than 24 hours later, after the priest, now living several states away, had bought nonrefundable plane tickets to Washington, the meeting was canceled suddenly.

Father Haley says his only crime is his insistence that homosexual priests, not solely pedophiles, are at the root of the sexual-abuse crisis. The Catholic priesthood is demoralized, he says, by groups of homosexual clerics who control who gets admitted to seminary, which men get nominated for bishop and which priests get the plum parishes.

Based on his 17 years in the priesthood, he estimates that 60 percent of the Diocese of Arlington's 127 diocesan priests are homosexuals, which is high compared with national estimates of 30 percent to 50 percent from other authorities on the priesthood.

As his prospects of returning to life as a parish priest dwindle, he has amassed reams of tapes, videos, photographs, e-mail messages and 1,200 pages of documents for a tell-all book on homosexuality and the priesthood.
"I am astounded the bishops will protect these guys, promote them, even make them bishops," he says. "This is a huge moral issue, and if the bishops aren't clear on this, the pope needs to rule on it.

"People will say there's nothing wrong with homosexual priests as long as they are celibate. Well, that is a totally naive statement and totally wrong."
Backlash Father Haley, who is living on a $1,700 a month stipend from the Arlington Diocese and relies on his motorcycle for transport, says his troubles began after several confrontations with his bishop over the priest's charges that homosexuals were indulged by the diocese.

Bishop Loverde, in turn, has leveled several charges at the priest, ranging from sexual misconduct to talking with the press. He has turned the case over to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, overseen by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The cardinal asked Bishop Thomas G. Doran of Rockford, Ill., to preside at an ecclesiastical court, which has met in three closed sessions this year. Once the case is wrapped up, it will be forwarded to the Vatican for judgment.
Bishop Doran was "supportive," Father Haley says, but he told the priest, "We cannot discuss the homosexual issue because there are people above us who don't think it's a problem."

"He also explained to me: Even if I was to win this hearing, Loverde would appeal this to another [Vatican] congregation. If I lose, I cannot appeal it, but if I win, he can appeal. So three to four years might pass."

Although Bishop Doran's office did not respond to several requests for comment, the Rev. Arthur Espelage, executive coordinator of the Canon Law Society, an Alexandria-based group of 1,500 specialists in church law and court procedures, says Bishop Doran's intervention means that the Vatican is concerned.

"This is a lot more serious than Bishop Loverde being ticked off at Haley," he says. But Stephen Brady of the watchdog group Roman Catholic Faithful says Father Haley "made Loverde look bad, so they will make him pay a price by dragging this case out as long as they want."

"The bishops defend pedophile priests by saying canon law forbids them from removing them without just cause," he says. "But if someone like Father Haley embarrasses a bishop, the church ignores canon law and throws him out."

War of words

When questioned by The Washington Times on Sept. 8, Bishop Loverde refused to discuss the case and Father Haley's accusations.
"The canonical process is undergoing," he said, "and I cannot comment on it."
However, he has resurrected some 1995 sexual-misconduct charges against Father Haley made when the Most Rev. John R. Keating was bishop of the diocese.

The sexual-misconduct charge, Father Haley says, was from a 1994 conversation with a female friend, who, while describing the effects of her breast cancer, placed the priest's hand on where the surgery had taken place. Although the woman and her attorney both refused comment when contacted by The Washington Times, the priest says, "There was no sexual misconduct."

"I've never had sex in my entire life," he says.
Bishop Keating found Father Haley not guilty of impropriety and assigned him a post as assistant pastor at All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, the largest church in the Washington area with 20,000 members.

He was planning to promote the priest into a church pastorship in Sterling, when he died suddenly in Rome in 1998, says the Rev. James R. Gould, former vocations director for the diocese. Father Haley is "a good man and a good priest," Father Gould said. "I am very concerned for him. It is still my hope to have him back in the priesthood, and he is always welcome with me."
Father Haley never got his promotion. According to a 233-page deposition filed July 24, 2002, in Arlington County Circuit Court, the priest became aware of an affair between a married parishioner, Nancy Lambert, and the Rev. James Verrecchia, then pastor of All Saints and Father Haley's boss. Mrs. Lambert became pregnant with Father Verrecchia's child, divorced her husband, then married the priest in the spring of 2000. Mr. Verrecchia is now parish administrator at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Atlanta.
Jim Lambert, the divorced husband of Nancy Lambert, then filed a $5 million suit against the diocese on the grounds that Bishop Loverde knew of the affair months before the priest was ordered to stop seeing Mrs. Lambert.
The person who informed the bishop about the affair in June 1999 was Father Haley.

In the 2002 deposition, which Roman Catholic Faithful has posted at www.rcf.org , Father Haley also revealed sexually graphic details about other priests in the diocese.

"The bishop said there is nothing wrong with these guys," he recalled. "I said, 'You haven't lived with them.' "

The Arlington Diocese is one of a few in the country that refuses ã at least on paper ã to sponsor homosexual applicants for seminary. Most dioceses admit such applicants with a variety of sexual histories, although the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will reconsider this policy at its June meeting in Chicago.

Father Haley contends that Bishop Loverde is loath to enforce diocesan policy, which was installed by his predecessor, Bishop Keating.
"I was never asked by my bishop if I was gay," Father Haley said. Bishop Loverde "told me he had no right to ask that question, but I said you have a right to ask that question if you are putting men together [in parish rectories] who are sexually attracted to each other."

Root of the problem

The Rev. Donald Cozzens, author of the 2000 book "The Changing Face of the Priesthood," estimates 50 percent of all Catholic priests are homosexual.
Psychotherapist Richard Sipe, a former Catholic priest who has written and spoken widely on the priesthood, says 15 percent of homosexual priests are sexually active.

If all homosexual clergy were to leave the U.S. Catholic Church now, the church would lose one-third of its bishops as well, added Mr. Sipe, whose new book on priestly sexual abuse dating back to the fourth century, comes out Nov. 15.

Father Haley says homosexuality is at the root of the huge priestly sex-abuse crisis in which 81 percent of the cases involved victims who were males younger than 18, according to a USCCB investigation.

"Isn't the huge amounts of AIDS among the clergy a symptom of the problem?" he asked, citing a 2000 Kansas City Star estimate of the rate of AIDS deaths among priests that is at least four times that of the general population. "These are guys who are supposed to be celibate, virtually chaste and modest.

"But I've seen priests put on cologne, dress up and go on dates with guys."
He wonders whether Pope John Paul II understands this.

"I would ask him, 'Your Holiness, is it proper to hire these men or not?' " Father Haley said. "You have to question whether or not these guys even have the rudiments of the faith."

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is an "intrinsically disordered" condition and, on Oct. 25, released a document saying such behavior "is not consistent with moral law." But it has no formal prohibition against homosexual priests. A Feb. 2, 1961, Vatican directive does say that "advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty."

In March 2002, as the clergy sex-abuse scandal in Boston assumed national proportions, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told the New York Times that, "People with these inclinations just cannot be ordained."
He added, "That does not imply a final judgment on people with homosexuality ... but you just cannot be in this field."

That same year, Pope John Paul II told Brazilian bishops to be extremely careful when screening men for the priesthood so as to avoid "deviations in their affections."

"It is an ongoing struggle to make sure the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men," Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the USCCB, told the Associated Press. Father Haley says the problem goes straight to the top. "Loverde had said to me there's nothing wrong [with homosexuality] as long as you're celibate," he said. "So I said there would be nothing wrong with me living with nuns the rest of my life as long as I am celibate. He just looked at me."

Support from home

Northern Virginia Catholics have demonstrated outside Bishop Loverde's chancery, sent Father Haley 600 letters of support, contributed money to help defer his legal costs and set up a supportive Web site: www.truthinarlington.com.

"I know Father Haley to be a dedicated, holy priest," said a former member of St. Mark Catholic Church in Vienna, Va., where the priest served from 1987 to 1991.

"He impressed me with his reverence during Mass and excellent homilies, which have been always true to the Gospel. He was well-liked and well-respected in our parish," she said in an interview on the condition of anonymity. She attributed his current troubles to "his zeal for the church," adding, "He wants it pure and holy."

Michael Gray, a parishioner at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fredericksburg, Father Haley's last parish, said he was "a very good priest." "He's a brilliant speaker. He's the best. There wasn't anything wrong with him. He just told the truth. He just stood up, and look where it's gotten him. He's been sent to limbo."

Charles Molineaux, a Catholic lawyer from McLean, buttonholed Bishop Loverde about Father Haley when he spotted the prelate at a funeral this spring. "Loverde told me I needed to have patience," he said. "I said, 'Well, you know, bishop, justice delayed is justice denied.' "

"At that point, he blew his stack. He said I was being judgmental. I said, 'Well, I am a lawyer, and we make judgment calls, and you are being unjust.'"
Many local Catholics were shocked to read about two priests exposed in the deposition Father Haley gave in the Lambert divorce lawsuit, which the diocese unsuccessfully tried to seal.

The Rev. William J. Erbacher of St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Franconia resigned soon after the deposition revealed that he embezzled church funds and collected homosexual pornography featuring young boys. The diocese has never revealed the results of two audits of Father Erbacher, one conducted by the diocese and the other by the Internal Revenue Service.
St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Middleburg, Va., takes phone messages and mail for him.

The Rev. Daniel Hamilton, pastor of St. Mary's Church, resigned after the deposition claimed he kept a collection of sadomasochistic and homosexual pornography in his rectory bedroom. After a psychiatric evaluation for what the bishop termed his "improper activity," he went to live at St. Francis de Sales Church in Kilmarnock, Va.

The diocese lists both men as on leaves of absence. Father Haley said he provided Bishop Loverde incriminating material about six other priests in the diocese, plus additional names culled from e-mails in Father Erbacher's files.
"There were homosexual jokes being sent not only to men around the diocese, but to priests around the country," he said.

Which is why, Father Haley said, he was summoned to the diocesan chancery on that October afternoon in 2001, given four hours to vacate his rectory and ordered by the bishop to remain silent.

The bishop's only public response to Father Haley's charges came a year later ã in Sept. 14, 2002, and Dec. 3, 2002, letters defending his actions after the story hit the newspapers and TV.

"I want every parishioner in this diocese to know that allegations by some in the media stating that I have ignored priestly misconduct are absolutely false," he wrote.

"While Father Haley was always free to 'go over my head' and bring his accusations and criticisms to other ecclesiastical authorities, he chose instead to resort to the media."

Several of Father Haley's advocates suggest that Bishop Loverde got advice on priestly silencing from Altoona-Johnstown, Pa., Bishop Joseph Adamec. Bishop Adamec's diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Register, ran a front-page photo of the two bishops on May 5, 2003, and informed readers that Bishop Loverde had been invited to speak in the diocese.

On Sept. 9, 1999, Bishop Adamec forbade a local priest, the Rev. Philip Saylor, from talking about the diocese's track record on sexual-abuse cases. Father Saylor was given a canonical "precept of silence," the same as was given to Father Haley, and threatened with excommunication if he disobeyed.
The bishop posted the order on his Web site, www.diocesealtjtn.org/news, and wrote a March 17, 2003, letter to the Wall Street Journal defending his decision. The bishop was under some pressure, because the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown had published in June 2002 an investigation saying the diocese had allowed at least 10 pedophile priests to continue working while abusing hundreds of boys.

"There's a point where you have to put your faith on the line," Father Haley said. "You have to put your life at risk. I am willing to die for this. I am willing to stand up for the truth. Someday, this will all come out. The abuse scandal will seem small compared to this."

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Question 16- Kneeling for Communion

Would you please forward me the most recent document (or excerpt) from the USCCB that does not prohibit kneeling to receive our Lord (Redemptionis Sacramentum says "The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined." I need to get this information to a priest.

I almost lost it today at evening Mass when this priest, while giving me Communion as I knelt before him, audibly said before the Congregation "The bishops ask you to stand to receive." He then approached me after Mass to reinforce the same. I told him that the USCCB has not prohibited it, and that it is an immemorial custom of the Church to kneel to receive the Lord. After asking the priest to provide me with the authority that precludes kneeling, he could only say that he had a doctorate in theology. I guess his dissertation was not in the traditional liturgiology of the Catholic Church.
John

P.S. During this same Mass, the priest conferred what he called "the sacrament of the sick" to anyone who came forward to receive it. The Church has always taught that this sacrament is only conferred when there is a danger of death. Yet almost every able-bodied Catholic in the congregation went up to the altar to receive this "sacrament." After the priest irked me about the kneeling, I told him that I thought his conferral of the anointing was illicit. He told me that he did not confer "Extreme Unction," but the "sacrament of the sick." I then asked whether the Church now had eight sacraments since, for 2,000 years, Extreme Unction was the Sacrament of the Sick. Any other insights would be appreciated

Ben Douglass: John,

Robert forwarded your question to the staff because he's going to be gone all day tomorrow. Here's what I found. This was one of the USCCB's proposals for American adaptations to the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani:

160.2 - Distribution of Holy Communion
The norm for reception of Holy Communion is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. When receiving Holy Communion standing, the communicant bows his head before the sacrament as a gesture of reverence, and may receive either on the tongue or in the hand.

According to EWTN, "this adaptation was recognized by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 17 April 2002, and promulgated as particular law of the United States by Decree of the President of the USCCB, Bishop Wilton Gregory, 25 April 2002" (http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/communion_posture.htm). So, if you want to kneel, you're going against the "norm," though this is not prohibited.

As for the priest administering the sacrament of Holy Unction on people not in danger of death: he is importing an Eastern Rite custom into the Roman rite. I don't know that there's anything in canon law which forbids him from doing so, but I certainly don't approve. There's nothing wrong with the traditions of Latin Christianity, so they don't need to be replaced/mixed with the traditions of Byzantine Christianity anymore than the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom needs to import prayers from the Tridentine. Hope I've been helpful.

JMJ,
Ben Douglass

Michael Forrest: Dear John,
In addition to solid information Ben Douglass provided, I would like to add a few things. First, I believe you are quite correct in your understanding of immemorial custom (canon 28). In order for it to be revoked, the Vatican must expressly state that such is the case. It is not enough to merely state another norm positively. There is nothing inherently disobedient or defiant in kneeling for Holy Communion. It is perfectly legitimate.

I have run this by several well-respected and informed Catholic apologists, priests and even included a canon lawyer, and no one has disproved it.

Furthermore, the CDWDS (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) has gone well beyond merely saying that one cannot be refused for kneeling. You may contact Jane Elliot, 524 Linden Drive, Front Royal, VA 22630 for a copy from the Vatican of what I am about to quote (2/25/03):

"As the authority by virtue of whose recognitio the norm in question has attained the force of law, this Dicastery is competent to specify the manner in which the norm is to be understood for the sake of a proper application. Having received more than a few letters regarding this matter from different locations in the United States of America, the Congregation wishes to ensure that its position on the matter is clear.

"To this end, it is perhaps useful to respond to your inquiry by repeating the content of a letter that the Congregation recently addressed to a Bishop in the United States of America from whose Diocese a number of pertinent letters had been received. The letter states: "....while this Congregation gave the recognitio to the norm desired by the Bishops Conference of your country that people stand for Holy Communion, this was done on the condition that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds. Indeed, the faithful should not be imposed upon nor accused of disobedience and of acting illicitly when they kneel to receive Holy Communion.

"This Dicastery hopes that the citation given here will provide an adequate answer to your letter. At the same time, please be assured that the Congregation remains ready to be of assistance if you should need to contact it again."

A previous letter from the CDWDS indicated that refusal of Holy Communion for kneeling was a grave wrong and that it would NOT be tolerated.

Below, I've included a few articles I wrote on this issue for New Oxford Review and others. They may be helpful to you.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us again.

In Christ,
Michael Forrest
Personnel Director

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Question 15- Faster than the speed of light?

Dear Mr. Sungenis,
I just read your reply to Karl Keating on geocentrism. You replied that geocentrism is kinematically and mathematically equivalent to a rotating earth theory, and proceeding to show how you should it better explained some points.

However, you didn't address the main objection of Mr.Keating, which was implicit in his remarks. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. But your view posits that stars are traveling much, much faster than the speed of light. Therefore it is false. To avoid this you have to posit all the stars in the universe very close to earth, which is absurd. Therefore your premise, that the earth doesn't rotate, is false.

How do you respond to that? Chuck out relativity? Do you deny that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light?
Best regards,
Breier

R. Sungenis: Breier, first let's clarify what I said. I said the stars are not traveling faster than the speed of light. The reason I can say that is due to the fact that speed is measured relative to the frame within which something moves. If the frame or environment within which the star is located is moving or fixed, the speed of light will be the same in either case. I agree that the star itself cannot move at the speed of light. The question is whether the frame around the star can move faster than the speed of light.

Mr. Keating's objection assumes that the frame or environment within which the star is located is not itself moving, and therefore he objects that the star can move against a non-moving environment at 10K faster than light. If that were the case, I would agree with him. Unless the environment itself is moving, the star, as least under conventional understanding, could come no where near 10K times the speed of light in and of itself.

This just begs the question, however, because it requires Mr. Keating to prove that the environment within which the star is placed cannot move faster than 10K times the speed of light. Einstein tried to solve this problem by claiming that there was no "environment" within which the star would move, but that it created its own environment that traveled with it wherever it went (i.e., the warping of space by mass).

The problem with Einstein's solution, which he freely admitted, was that it did not explain the Newtonian problem of "action-at-a-distance," that is, how can stars so far away have an immediate effect upon another object not within the stars' immediate "environment"?

The proof that the stars DID have an effect on objects which were not in their immediate environment was Newton's famous swirling water bucket experiment. The question that Newton could not answer was why the water of a spinning bucket rises. Two hundred years later, Ernst Mach answered the question by saying that the water rises because it is pulled up by the gravity of the stars, and Einstein agreed with Mach.

But then, Einstein tried to localize the effect of the stars by saying that there was a combination of the gravity of the stars working with or creating "gravitational" forces near the spinning bucket. Either way, Einstein admitted that the stars effected the spinning bucket, even though the stars are very far away.

So then, the question is: if the stars, which are so far away, have an immediate effect on the water of a spinning bucket, then somehow, someway, the force of those stars is in direct and immediate contact with the water. But how can that be if, as we already know, even the light from the star travels only at 300,000 km/sec? Well, it means that there is a difference between the speed of light and the speed of the force the stars have on far away objects, and evidently the latter is much greater.

One cannot argue that the force of the stars was already present in the vicinity of the water bucket by saying that the force had been traveling from the star for many years. Science had already argued (and to which Einstein agreed) that stellar aberration (the annual elliptical movement of stars) occurs because the speed of the light is finite. Thus, since Einstein held that gravity could not travel faster than the speed of light, then gravity should be distorted in the same way that stellar aberration shows a distortion on the speed of light from a star.

The fact is that gravity is not effected by distance as light is, since no one has ever shown that gravity has a force aberration. In fact, just the opposite has been proven. Hence, gravity acts instantaneously no matter what the distance, whereas light travels at 300,000 km/sec, a problem which General Relativity simply has not solved.

Thus, there is something that travels faster than light. The next question would be: how does gravity travel instantaneously over vast distances? This gets back to the "environment" issue. If gravity has the proper environment in which to travel, it can propagate at tremendous speeds. It all depends on how small and how compact the constituency of the environment is. The denser and more pliable the constituency, the faster it can transmit the force. (Sound, for example, travels five times faster in steel than it does in air). These are the principles of constitution that geocentrists attribute to the so-called "aether," a substance that Einstein had at first rejected, then partially accepted, and without which his present theories are inadequate to explain natural phenomenon, and to which he was painfully aware at the end of his career, since he could not get his math to balance.

It is also what geocentrists understand as the "firmament" of Genesis 1:6-9, which God spent the whole second day creating and organizing. In Hebrew, "firmament" refers to something vast and expansive, as well as something hard and compact, which fits right in with the needs of modern geocentric cosmology.

Quantum mechanics has reintroduced aether (although they are careful not to call it "aether" because of the stigma carried with it), and it is a fact that no one has been able to combine the principles of Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. The latest attempt is String Theory, but that has not been proven or accepted, especially since it posits that there are 11 dimensions, none of which it has any empirical proof.

Quantum Mechanics, and even String Theory, posit that there must be a universe full of infinitesimal particles, many of them suggesting that these particles are in the Planck dimensions, which is about 15 orders of magnitude smaller than the electron.

If the universe is composed of these tiny particles, it answers two questions for the geocentrist: (1) why does the universe need to spin so fast? and (2) how does gravity propagate so fast?

In regard to question #1, it just so happens that a universe composed of Planck-dimension particles would have to spin at least once in 24 hours in order to remain stable and not collapse in on itself.

The problem of the universe collapsing in on itself has been the most perplexing and perennial problem for science. After Newton discovered the measurement for the force of gravity he realized that unless there was an equal repulsive force against gravity, then the universe should have collapsed in on itself a long time ago. His answer to this problem was to postulate an infinite universe, and therefore it would never reach a point of total collapse, at least so he thought.

Einstein's solution was to create a mathematical fudge factor called the "cosmological constant," but it had no basis in reality, yet it did make his General Relativity mathematics appear balanced.

Current Big Bang cosmologist solve the problem by inventing a thing called Dark Matter, claiming that it constitutes 95% of the universe, but it has never been detected. They need Dark Matter to make Newton's inverse square law work.

The geocentrist solves the problem by positing that the outward centrifugal force of a substantive rotating universe stops the universe from caving in on itself. In fact, this centrifugal force has been measured and verified as being able to come from a massive rotating disc (e.g., the universe in rotation) by Hans Thirring, and to which Einstein agreed.

In regards to question #2, the compactness and density of the Planck-dimension particles that pervade the universe would allow for instantaneous transmission of mechanical forces, such as gravity. In fact, it has been calculated that the reaction time of gravity would be on the order of 10^ -70 seconds and travel at about 10^100 m/sec, which would give ample time for gravity to travel from the stars to Newton's water bucket, "instantaneously." Light, on the other hand, because it is a phenomenon that interacts with its environment and is "bigger" in substance than Planck-dimension particles, will be impeded in its speed to varying degrees, and thus be 200,000 km/sec in water and 300,000 km/sec in rarified atmosphere, and who-knows-what in regions outside of those strictures.

One more thing. Although geocentrists have an answer to the instantaneous velocity of gravity and can explain why the universe, as big as it is, is in rotation, one more factor in its favor is that current cosmology has no way of proving how far away the stars really are. Using redshift will not help, since the cause for redshift has not been settled, and because redshift presents too many contradictions. (Hubble himself doubted that it could be used as a measure of distance).

The only other means to establish distance (and the only empirical method available) is stellar parallax (which can work from a geocentric as well as heliocentric perspective). Using stellar parallax, the farthest we can estimate the radius of the universe is about 90 parsecs. Whether it is larger than that we simply cannot prove. In other words, a 180 parsec diameter (or about 300 light-years) is the only number for which we really have positive proof as to how big the universe actually is. It may be bigger, but we simply do not know for sure. Anything other than that is mere speculation.

In conclusion, with the proper mechanics, we can see how the "environment" of light, as well as the forces within that environment, can indeed travel at speeds greater than light itself. As such, the star itself is not moving around the earth at 10K times the speed of light, rather, the universe itself is in rotation and carries the stars with it.

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Question 14- A Few Questions

Mr. Sungenis,

I hope I'm allowed to ask you questions here, I wasn't sure. In any event, before I ask my questions, I would like to say: You rule! Keep up the good work... if you don't have time to answer all my questions, that's okay.

1) Are the Novus Ordo priestly ordinations valid? It would seem to me that since "Whose sins ye forgive they are forgiven", etc. cf. John 20:23 not being included in the New Rite may have some negative consequences.

R. Sungenis: Yes, they are valid. The only way they could be determined as not valid is if the magisterium itself conducted an investigation of the orders and found flaws in them that could not be reconciled with previous dogmatic prescriptions.

2) Where can I find proof that by the 1st century AD, "petros" and "petra" were synonymous?

R. Sungenis: Most current Greek lexicons recognize this, at least the ones written after the 1960s.

3) On page 246-247 of "Not By Scripture Alone", you answer the charge of Tradition making Scripture 'redundant' by asking why you need more than one witness at a murder trial. But isn't it a different situation if the one witness is infallible?

I appreciate it, thank you.

R. Sungenis: Yes, it would be different, but even then, the infallible witness will, in order to compensate for the fallibility of his hearers, will call a second witness for verification. Jesus did that with the Jews (John 5:36-39; John 8:13-18), even though he could claim infallibility by himself. God the Father also does it, by calling himself to be a witness to himself (Hebrews 6:13-18).
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Question 13- Anger as a sin, Part II

Robert,
Thanks for the response. I have a question regarding your last line- "Anger against sin and evil is justified. Anger for any other reason is not good and unjustified."

How about these examples: These examples of anger are not against sin and evil so how do they fit in?
Thanks, I appreciate it.

You are playing soccer and get kicked in the shin either intentionally or unintentionally. Your first reaction is anger because you got kicked and it HURTS but you continue on with the game ignoring the person who kicked you.

R. Sungenis: If the person kicked him out of a desire to deliberately hurt, then it is a sin, and therefore the anger is justified. If the kick was accidental, then anger is not justified.

Your 3 yr old child is not allowed to do something he wants and is angry because of it and starts to cry.

R. Sungenis: If the thing he wants to do is bad (sinful), then you teach him not to be angry about such things. Although we have emotionally wiring, proper emotions often have to be learned.

Your spouse takes too long to get ready for an apt and makes you 20 min late, so you get angry and tell him/her so.

R. Sungenis: Better to have patience in this event, unless, of course, your spouse has deliberately or consistently (without improvement) done the same thing. Once it crosses over into the area of a deliberate action, or an action that he refuses to rectify, then it is sin, and the cause of anger against it is justified.

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Question 12- Mary did not know men -- eginosken

Dear Mr Sungenis & CAI
I am hopping you can assist me with a question regarding the tense of the koine greek word “know” (eginosken) in Matthew 1:25.

From what I gather, eginosken stands in the imperfect tense, and therefore lays the stress on the duration of the period throughout which Joseph and Mary abstained from intercourse. Have read that John McHugh, in The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament, 1975, p. 204, mentions that if the author had wished to imply that after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary consummated their marriage, it is more likely that he would have used here the Aorist tense.

However, some protestant apologetics are saying that if Matthew intended us to believe Mary remained a virgin forever, he would have used the Perfect tense, meaning an action that happened in the past and we still have the results now, Mary continually abstained from intercourse.

I am not a Greek scholar, so do not know how to answer this notion about the perfect tense of "know" (or whether it is a correct statement)

God Bless
George B

R. Sungenis: George, the Imperfect tense in Greek refers to a past action that was ongoing in the past. Hence, this is the proper tense to use in Mt 1:25 because Mary is simply stating that it was her ongoing and continual practice prior to the angel's visit not to have relations with men, which implies that that state of being would continue into the present and future unless Mary or someone else decided to change it.

The Perfect refers to a past action that has been completed but its effects are still experienced in the future. The Perfect tense would not be used in Matthew 1:25 because Mary never ceased the practice of not having relations with men in the past.

The only way the Perfect could apply better than the Imperfect is if the verse was referring to a decision Mary made in the past not to "know man," and thus that decision would have its effects in the present and the future and thus prohibit her from "knowing man" in the present and the future. But since Matthew 1:25 is not purporting to establish a decision Mary made, per se, rather, it it is making a simple affirmation of fact that Mary has not had relations with men in the past, then the Perfect would not be the proper sense to use.

Incidentally, the Imperfect tense could also imply a vow Mary took in the past which then resulted in the fact that she had no relations with men from thence and forever.

The Aorist would not be the proper tense to use since it refers to an action in the past that has ceased. Since Mary did not cease her practice of not having relations with men, then the Aorist cannot apply here. But if the Aorist had been used, it certainly could be interpreted to mean that what was true in the past may not be true in the future, and thus McHugh is correct.

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Question 11- Question on Antipopes

Dear Mr. Sungenis,
Thank you for your excellent answers to recent questions on whether a pope can lose his office. One point certain sedevacantists keep bringing up is that history shows that the Church has had over 40 anti-popes and thus they conclude that is the case today. My question is, how did (and does) the Church determine that there was (is) an anti-pope contrary to lone ranger sedevacantists making that decision based on quotes from Sts. Robert Bellarmine and Francis De Sales?
Thank you again,
Kavi C

R. Sungenis: Kavi, whether or not a pope is a true pope or not is something that can only be determined by either a canonical trial conducted by the college of cardinals or the next pope. Vigilante Catholics who have determined such important matters for themselves are simply deceived into thinking they have such authority when, in fact, they do not.

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Question 10- Calvary Chapel

Mr. Sungenis,
What do you know of Calvary Chapel both theologically and experiencially?
Thanks
LS

R. Sungenis: LS, Calvary Chapel is run by rabid anti-Catholic Chuck Smith, and they have a very active ministry that started in California and is now being used in many Protestant churches across the land. Stay away.

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Question 9- Baptism of Desire

Mr. Sungenis,

I noticed in the December 2004 question about "Baptism of Desire" (number 38), that you used a mistranslation of that referenced portion of the Council of Trent. The true translation is "without", not "except through". Hence, the true quote from the Council of Trent in no way supports "baptism of desire". Are you aware of this?

Bridget

R. Sungenis: Bridget, whether the "true" translation is "without" or "except through" really makes little difference, since the words are interchangeable in English. To suggest that Trent's reference to baptism of desire is negated simply because the word has a slight ambiguity is simply not correct.
Let's look at both possibilities:

First using "except through"
"...and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be erected except through the laver of regeneration, or a desire for it, as it is written..."

Now with "without":
"...and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be erected without the laver of regeneration, or a desire for it, as it is written..."

The latter usage would clearly indicate that one cannot be baptized without water or the desire for water, and thus the condition of using water is fulfilled both in the usage of "without" and "except through."

Lastly, I would suggest that whoever is trying to teach you that there is no such thing as a baptism of desire cease and desist. This is a dogmatic teaching of the Church, and it is infallible. Any attempt to alter it will simply bring terrible consequences.

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Question 8- The role of women

Dear CAI,

I was wondering how we are meant to understand these scriptures:

'...bestowing honor on the women as the weaker sex...' (1 Peter 3:7)
'...there is neither male or female for you are all one in Christ..' (Gal 3:28)

What does it mean here in scripture that women are the weaker sex?

What about the Galatians passage? A lot of liberals use this passages to say that there is difference between the sexes in the eyes of God and also that this verse shows that men don't have any authority over women in Christ?

Thanks

Dave

R. Sungenis: Dave, Peter says women are the weaker sex mainly for two reasons. First, God placed man as the head of the woman beginning at the Garden of Eden. As Paul says, the woman is to submit to the man because "Adam was created first" (1 Timothy 2:13). Second, because their constitution, as anyone can plainly see, a woman is usually not as strong as the man, both physically and emotionally. But because of this, Peter requires men to treat women with an extra dose of care, and rightly so.

As for Galatians 3:28, yes, liberals have abused this verse to no end. In short, it has absolutely nothing to do with the status or rights of women in society. The context of Galatians 3 is concerned about one thing only, and that is salvation. Since Christ has come, then the barriers to salvation and God's blessing have been alleviated. Now, slaves, uncircumcised, women, and any indigent person has just as much access to God and possibility of salvation as freemen, circumcised, men and the privileged.

I have written a paper on this which will be appearing on our website in the next few weeks, titled: "What's a Woman to Do?"

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Question 7- Christ's punishment

CAI,

If Jesus didn't take our punishment on the cross, why does it say in Isaiah 53:5, that the punishment that brought us peace was upon him (NIV)?

Dave

R. Sungenis: Dave, it is because the NIV is a Protestant translation that believes in the error of penal substitution, as most Protestants do.

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Question 6- Anger as a sin

Robert,
I hope you can answer this for me. I saw a show that had a Catholic Psychiatrist (Sue Baars) who was talking about emotions. She said that pure emotions (desire, joy, anger etc) are God given and essentially good. She said that pure emotions are not an act of the will (unlike lust which requires and act of the will) and cannot be judged as moral or immoral. For example, anger is not a sin and can't be judged as moral or immoral, but how you respond to that anger can be judged as sinful or not. Alot of Christians are taught that anger is a sin. A protestant friend of mine has been taught that anger is a sin, with the exception of "righteous anger which is very rare" and proof of this is that Anger is one of the seven deadly sins. Can you put all of this into context? I am asking you because I either listened to one of your tapes or read something you wrote about "Who is God" and you talked about God's emotions.
Thanks,
Amy

R. Sungenis: Amy, when the Church says that anger is a sin, she is speaking about tempestuous, unbridled anger, a disposition that lies deep within the heart that has become part of the person's mental outlook on life itself, and which is manifested by outbursts of irrational emotion against people and objects, and which ends up hurting the people to whom the anger is directed, especially children. Anger in that sense can be deadly, since it leaves such emotional scars on whoever is its victim.

By the same token, however, anger, when used appropriately and under control, is a good emotion. It shows the world that we are displeased with a certain person or action, and that this displeasure is not just a surface reaction but one that resides deep in our soul. This type of anger is almost always a reaction to the evil caused by sin, since there is really nothing else about which we should be angry.

So the bottom line is, anger against sin and evil is good and justified. Anger for any other reason is not good and unjustified.

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Question 5- How should we interpret Matthew 6:33?

Mr. Sungenis,

I am a Catholic catechumen trying to bring my mother into the Church. She has at last consented to start reading the Gospels but immediately stubbed her toe on the Sermon on the Mount, particularly Matthew 6:33 and related passages (James and prayer come to mind) stating that Our Heavenly Father will take care of our practical needs if we put him first. It is obvious that these categorical statements need interpretation, since we all know that there are devout Catholics who have lost everything (I am sure there are many wandering around in a state of shock or insanity in Sri Lanka, or slowly dying of minor injuries that could not be attended to promptly), and in fact the via purgativa has proven the road to sanctification for many who love Christ. I am certain there is an orthodox and satisfactory explanation of these statements that will satisfy my mother -- and me.

Many thanks,

Deborah

R. Sungenis: Matthew 6:33 is a truism. God will take care of our other needs if we seek the kingdom of God. But the fact is that we, because of the curse of sin and death, will all get sick and die someday. God does not promise to alleviate those eventualities, since He has used those to punish the whole human race because of Adam's sin. What God does promise, however, is that when we meet up with the tragedies of life, and prior to this we have sought His kingdom, He will be there providing for our needs. If it wasn't for God's help, none of the tsunami victims would be receiving help.

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Question 4- Substitutionary atonement

Dear Bob,

I ran across a question on your website where you took me to task for my comment that substitutionary atonement is compatible with Catholic doctrine. I wanted to clarify something that your questioner did not mention. I had made it clear that PENAL substitution is incompatible with the Catholic faith, but that vicarious substitution is not. If you read various sections of the Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas often sues substitution terminology and does St. Anselm in "Cur Deus Homo?".

The primary difference between the cath and prot traditions is that we acknowledge that there is no imputation of guilt or righteouesness. Christ acts on our behalf to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. But he does so not to slake the wrath of a bloodthirsty God, but rather to reconcile sinners to God so that we may receive the adoption of sons. Christ suffers for our sins as Isaiah prophesied in Isa 53, but he does not take the punishment for our sins. As St. Anselm said, "satisfaction replaces punishment."

The atonement is about more that merely avoiding damnation. It is ultimately the transformation of the inner man into the image of Jesus Christ. The power of this transformation negates the need for punishment.

I like the analogy that the Arminian revivalist Charles Finney used for this. He recognized that what occurs in salvation is not the forensic imputation of guilt and innocence, but rather an act of "executive clemency" whereby God decides that in light of the changed circumstance of the Christan's life, freedom would be morally superior to punishment even thought the law might have required the latter.

--
Art

R. Sungenis: Art, let's see if we can iron out these issues. First, I appreciate the distinction you are making between penal substitution and vicarious substitution, if by vicarious you mean that Christ is doing something for us that we could not do on our own. In this, we both see that Christ did not suffer our legal punishment, rather he suffered and died because, for whatever reason, physical death was required of the Father to give us forgiveness -- a physical death we could neither survive or offer as a gift to the Father.

However, I do take issue with some of your other statements. You write:
"But he does so not to slake the wrath of a bloodthirsty God, but rather to reconcile sinners to God so that we may receive the adoption of sons. Christ suffers for our sins as Isaiah prophesied in Isa 53, but he does not take the punishment for our sins. As St. Anselm said, "satisfaction replaces punishment."

"The atonement is about more that merely avoiding damnation. It is ultimately the transformation of the inner man into the image of Jesus Christ. The power of this transformation negates the need for punishment."

As I see it, technically speaking, it is not "transformation that negates the need for punishment." Transformation is simply the resulting blessing for those who have accepted the atonement offered by God, which offer Christ could make because Christ suffered and died and thus satisfied what the Father desired of Him.

When St. Anselm says "satisfaction replaces punishment" he is saying that Christ satisfied the Father's desires to see the suffering and death of Christ and therefore, if we accept what was done by Christ, we can escape the punishment of hell.

Having said all that, however, what I think you are missing in the above description you gave (although you make an allusion to it by the reference to "bloodthirsty") is what, precisely, was Christ giving to the Father when he suffered and died.

The fact is that Catholic theology and Scripture are saturated with the concept of Christ "appeasing" the Father's wrath, or "propitiating" the Father to turn away his wrath. It is a personal appeal to the Father to relent of his anger by accepting the personal sacrifice of the Son.

Granted, it is not proper to think of God as "bloodthirsty" since that brings up images of pagan gods who seek nothing but harm against their worshipers, but the fact remains that God is angry with man because of man's sin, and that anger needs to be pacified. THAT is what Christ does in accomplishing the atonement. Only Christ could do such a propitiation, since He was the only one without sin to offer such a sacrifice. (The sacrifice of a sinner would only have made God angrier).

After that, of course, we can say, as you said, that what takes place is the "transformation of the inner man into the image of Jesus Christ," but that is only because the proptitation was satisfied first, which then allows God's graces to flow to us and transform us.

And since this propitiation or transformation cannot take place by a "penal substitution" it is necessary to make that crucial distinction between us and the Protestants. That I think we both see and accept. Thank you for your comments. God be with you.
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Question 3- Quake and Earth's rotation

Mr. Sungenis,
I hope all is well with you and your family. I have heard it mentioned over and over in the major media that the Earth’s rotation has been affected by the quake this past Christmas. What are your thoughts on this? I am trying to understand how seismic activity on or within the planet could bring about a change in rotation. If the Earth is sitting still, how would a quake affect everything else?
Thank you for all you do!!
May God bless you always,
Ethan Muehlbauer

R. Sungenis: Ethan, all that stuff about the Earth having its rotation slowed is theoretical. They have not really detected the Earth slowing down. Theory of inertial motion states that a cataclysmic event should effect an object in rotation, and the theory purports that the energy in the tsunami would do so by 3 microseconds.

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Question 2- Does Quantum Mechanics Portray a Chance Universe?

Robert
Our local newscaster has written a letter to the editor explaining how quantum mechanics has disproved the existence of God. He states; "Einstein's perception of a majestically ordered universe was shattered by quantum mechanics, which has conclusively proven that nature at it's essence is disordered and unknowable. The fact is elemental nature is not ordered and not friendly. It is wildly random, chaotic and thus vicious. The universe is overwhelmingly hostile."

I have no experience with quantum mechanics and would appreciate you comments.
Walt

R. Sungenis: Walt, actually, the only thing he is doing is reading into nature his own biased viewpoint. The fact is that quantum mechanics doesn't have an answer to how things work because they can't really see what's happening, so it looks random to them. The atom is at 10^ -12 cm and they can barely figure out what's going on at that level. Quantum mechanics has to deal with objects at the size of 10^ -20 to 10^ -33 cm, and times in the 10^ -44 sec, and so forth. They are hampered by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which does not allow them to make predictions at the sub atomic level, because they simply can't see down that far. In other words, there is a whole underlying world of action that we simply only see the results, and because those results look random, then scientists like the above interpret God making the world randomly. The fact is, these scientists are reticent to admit that they don't know how things work, so then they try to blame it on God.

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Question 1- Validity of SSPX Confession, Part II

Breier: Regarding the necessity of jurisdiction or faculties to hear a valid confession, this from the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 966 §1. The valid absolution of sins requires that the minister have, in addition to the power of orders, the faculty of exercising it for the faithful to whom he imparts absolution.

§2. A priest can be given this faculty either by the law itself or by a grant made by the competent authority according to the norm of ? can. 969.
Can. 969 §1. The local ordinary alone is competent to confer upon any presbyters whatsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of any of the faithful. Presbyters who are members of religious institutes, however, are not to use the faculty without at least the presumed permission of their superior.

For the whole list of canons:
<http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3G.HTM>

So absent the conferring of the faculty by the local ordinary upon an SSPX priest, he does not have the faculty to hear confessions. Valid holy orders is not enough.

In a September 28th, 1999 letter from the secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Msgr. Perl, the following statement was made:
"Concretely this means that the Masses offered by the priests of the Society of St.Pius X are valid, but illicit i.e, contrary to Canon Law. The Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony however, require that the priest enjoys the faculties of the diocese or has proper delegation. Since that is not the case with these priests, these sacraments are invalid. It remains true, however, that, if the faithful are genuinely ignorant that the priests of the Society of St.Pius X do not have the proper faculty to absolve, the Church supplied these faculties so that the sacrament was valid (cf. Code of Canon Law c.144)."

I'd seen this letter before, but it was harder to dig up the source on the Internet. The best I could do is a cached Google page.:

Let me know if that suffices.
Regards,
Breier

R. Sungenis: Breier, I would need an official statement from the highest Vatican department that says the SSPX cannot administer a confession. I agree that, normally, jurisdiction is required, but the SSPX is an abnormal situation. They have bishops, they have the Eucharist, I don't see why they don't have confessions. See my logic?
Breier: I see your logic, but it omits the fact that unlike the Eucharist, the sacrament of penance requires for validity not only valid holy orders but also faculties from the local diocesan ordinary.

So renegade Masses, illicit but valid.
Renegade confessions, illicit and invalid.

Your official statement from the highest Vatican department is the canon law I provided, which shows that valid holy orders is not enough for a valid confession, the minister also needs faculties from the local ordinary.

SSPX priests lack faculties from a local ordinary.  Therefore their absolutions are invalid.

I should think, rather, that one should demand an official Vatican statement from the highest source for anyone who claimed that SSPX absolutions were valid, since they go against the face and clear meaning of canon law.

SSPX Bishops aren't local ordinaries, so their ambiguous existence doesn't provide faculties for confession.

Regards,

Breier
R. Sungenis: Breier, I'm still not quite convinced yet, and probably won't be unless the Vatican comes out with a definitive statement on this issue. Nevertheless, perhaps with the above information you have supplied the best position to hold, at least for the time being, is to discourage people from going to an SSPX confession, and warn them of the potential invalidity of the confession.

Nevertheless, I still think this issue needs greater clarification. First, I find it puzzling why a confession to an SSPX priest can suddenly become valid, and absolution provided, in the face of the ignorance of the penitent, if, in fact, jurisdiction is the issue.

Second, I don't understand the logic of allowing an SSPX priest to perform a valid Mass but not a valid confession, since the Mass is the more sacred of the two, and is without the fail-safe that confession has since a good act of contrition can suffice, in necessary cases, for priestly absolution.

I just hope that the Ecclesia Dei commission is not merely putting together some ad hoc guidelines for a situation they really are not sure how to handle because the pope has not made a decision either way.

If they've allowed the orders of the bishops to stand, and allowed the bishops and their priests to confect the Eucharist, I'm wondering how they can deny these bishops the right of jurisdiction? Why not just invalidate the orders altogether?

Evidently, there is something about the nature of the orders they cannot stop, once it is made. If that is the case, can they prohibit jurisdiction, which is part and parcel with orders?

In fact, this goes beyond the strictures in Canon 969, since (1) that only applies to the presbyter's jurisdiction, not the bishop's, and (2) Canon 969 does not address the issue of schism, but is a code which is given assuming the normalcy of the bishop's orders.

As for marriage, I'm puzzled why a marriage performed by an SSPX priest would be invalid, whereas the Church accepts the marriages performed by Protestants and other non-Catholic entities, and, in fact, gives these non-Catholic marriages the superior position in adjudicating annulments. The whole thing is very confused, and this is why I insisted on having a clarification from the highest Vatican department on this issue. I'm not convinced that Mnsg. Perl is the final word on this issue. I think it is about time the pope stepped in and fixed this issue once and for all. But until then, I would advise against a penitent going to an SSPX confessional, as I would of any function of the SSPX, since they are in de facto schism. 

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