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May 2005

Q & A May 2005

Question 60 - Baptism before the Cross

Question 59 - Indefectibility versus Cardinal Ratzinger

Question 58 - Geostationary satellites

Question 57 - Scott Hahn is off again......

Question 56 - Debate with Gerry Matatics

Question 54 - Why Pope Benedict XVI Greeted "The Jews" in His Papal Homily

Question 53 - Contradictions

Question 52 - Theology of Pope John Paul II

Question 51 - The Election of Benedict XVI

Question 50 - More Baptism of Desire

Question 49 - Geocentrism Challenge 5

Question 48 - Are you confident enough to consent to being sued?

Question 47 - SSPX

Question 46 - Geocentrism Challenge 4

Question 45 - Baptism of Desire, No Salvation Outside the Church, Part 2

Question 44 - Baptism of Desire, No Salvation Outside the Church

Question 43 - The Billion Dollar Challenge

Question 42 - The Sun and Infallibility, Part 2

Question 41 - The Sun and Infallibility

Question 40 - The Geocentrism Challenge 3

Question 39 - The Geocentrism Challenge 2

Question 38 - The Geocentrism Challenge

Question 37 - John Vennari in error

Question 36 - Baptism of Child

Question 35 - New Testament and End Times

Question 34 - Infallibility

Question 33 - 2 Thess 2:3-4

Question 32 - Women wearing trousers 2

Question 31 - Women wearing trousers

Question 30 - Science Question

Question 29 - Various Questions

Question 28 - Please help Mr. S!!!

Question 27 - Flood, seasons, geocentrism

Question 26 - Desire of Baptism

Question 25 - New Springtime Soon?

Question 24 - Geosynchronous satellites

Question 23 - Eastern Schism resources

Question 22 - Jn 13:5: Were there more than 12 apostles?

Question 21 - The End Time radio show

Question 20 - CAI and the Defamation of another Catholic?

Question 19 - Matrimony and "the exception clause"

Question 18 - Luminous Mysteries

Question 17 - The Catholic Catechism

Question 16 - Friend not Catholic

Question 15 - Fr. William Most

Question 14 - Punishment in the Old versus New Testament, Cardinal Ratzinger's Mass

Question 13 - Credited with Righteousness

Question 12 - PBC on the JEPD

Question 11 - Catholic versus Protestant Beliefs from Scripture, 2

Question 10 - Marriage, convalidation, and canon question

Question 9 - Discussion on Catholic versus Protestant Beliefs from Scripture

Question 8 - St. Malachy's prophecy about the 2 remaining popes, Part II

Question 7 - Cremation and Obelisks

Question 6 - Jerusalem and the End Times

Question 5 - Great White Throne and Judgment Seat

Question 4 - Creation and fall

Question 3 - Robert Sungenis... you're a modernist!

Question 2 - Protestant Minister seeks truth about the Church

Question 1 - Tattoos, II

Question 60- Baptism before the Cross

Dear Robert,

Salvus sis in hoc tempore gratiae summae! I read with interest Question #60 in April's Q and A in regard to Baptism of Desire. Though filled with more emotion than "proof" for the case against so-called Feeneyites, the example of St. Emerentiana certainly gives all food for thought. However, the Holy Innocents - without a doubt - and the Good Thief - according to most Fathers and Scholastics - were "on the other side of the Cross", as they put it. That is, Baptism was not necessary for salvation for those before the Resurrection, at least, and maybe before the Great Commission, even if the Apostles were already baptizing in the name of Jesus, or in the name of the Trinity. So, whatever one may conclude about St. Emerentiana, one cannot use the Holy Innocents, the Good thief, or any other sainted person who lived and died before the Resurrection, e.g., St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, Our Lady's parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, as proof against a more rigorist interpretation of the Church's teachings about Baptism. This much is clear. Otherwise, those arguing against the so-called Feeneyites commit the logical fallacy <<qui nimis probat, nihil probat>> He who proves too much, proves nothing. It is proving too much to argue that Baptism was necessary for salvation before Our Lord's death and Resurrection. Agreed?

Deus te tueatur et benedicat.

Vale in Domino et Domina,

Jonathan A

R. Sungenis: Agreed. Baptism was not required before Pentecost when the Church was formally inaugurated by the Holy Spirit.


Question 59- Indefectibility versus Cardinal Ratzinger

In an article in April 2005, on Cardinal Ratzinger it was stated that he permits a consecration without the words of consecration being used.

"In another instance, Cardinal Ratzinger, along with Cardinal Kasper, approved the adiaphora of Mari for a middle eastern Church, which is equivalent to approving a Catholic Mass without the traditional words of consecration."

But in the question and answer section concerning the novus ordo mass Q57 April 2005 you stated that
"In short, the only way someone could prove that the Novus Ordo is invalid is to first invalidate the Church who declares the Novus Ordo valid, and that, I assure you, is an impossibility."
My question is - To say Ratzinger approved a mass that is invalid is to say that the chuch has made a serious blunder and has in fact shown that the church is in error and to be defectable. But this is impossible as the church is indefectable. Can you resolve this issue?

R. Sungenis: Phil, yes, it can be resolved. What Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Kasper did in applying the anaphora of Mari was not made into Catholic dogma. It was an indiscretion on the part of Ratzinger and Kasper that we hope will never be repeated.


Question 58- Geostationary satellites

Dear Dr Sungenis,

About Geostationary satellites.
Since the aether rotates about the earth then the satellites would experience a force trying to move them once around the earth every day. What is it that stops the Satellite from following the aether?


p.s we are all waiting for the book....

R. Sungenis: Paul, the aether is a superfluid, such that there is next to no resistance upon objects moving against it, especially objects at subluminal speeds.


Question 57- Scott Hahn is off again......

Dear Robert, below is all I know about this Hahn issue. I am GREATLY disturbed by this because but one week ago I informed a friend of mine who now wants to become a Catholic that the Melchizedek King of Peace [Salem] that appeared to Abraham offering bread and wine, and to whom Abraham tithed, was none other than Christ (a theophany I think I said). I think this is backed up in Hebrews....anyway, when I came accross this (apparent) claim by Mr. Hahn I thought "I must let Mr. Sungenis know about this."

I think Scott Hahn is losing it. I also think this idea of his is far more deadly than it appears. I also think he ought to shut up and stop peddling thin books at high prices that add just about nothing to the the faith: but that really is just my opinion. Anyway, I am off to the bottom of the garden now to burn what remains of my Hahn collection, forgot to finish the job off a few months ago, tut, tut.
Simon M

R. Sungenis: Simon, this is old news. I've already critiqued Hahn on his speculation. He's getting it from some Jewish rabbis, not Tradition, Scripture or Magisterium. I do wish he wasn't so enamored with Jewish rabbis.


Question 56- Debate with Gerry Matatics

What is this debate about?
and what does it mean?
sat October 1-2005
Eloisa D

R. Sungenis: Gerry Matatics believes the Novus Ordo mass is invalid. I believe it is valid. We are debating that topic.


Question 54- Why Pope Benedict XVI Greeted "The Jews" in His Papal Homily

R. Sungenis: CAI received a QA from another website that was so good we wish to post it on our own (with the author's permission). You're in for a real education as to Catholic protocol, courtesy of none other than Pope Benedict XVI

"In any case though, it's revealing that he felt the need to give a 'shout out' to anyone in particular outside the Church at that moment, and then chose the Jews when he did so. Why not the Sikhs or the Baha'is? Jews only constitute .22% of all those proclaiming a religion. It's fascinating that the leader of a billion Catholics felt the need to mention them at his installation."


Jacob Michael's Response:

It is a curious thing, you're right ... but I think there's something slightly more subtle going on here that demonstrates Pope Benedict XVI's genius.

Watch how his greetings unfold:

"I greet ... my venerable brother Cardinals and Bishops, my dear priests, deacons, Church workers, catechists ... men and women Religious ... members of the lay faithful ... all those who have been reborn in the sacrament of Baptism but are not yet in full communion with us; and you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people ... Finally, like a wave gathering force, my thoughts go out to all men and women of today, to believers and non-believers alike."

He begins by focusing his attention on the heart and center of the Catholic Church: the Cardinals and Bishops. Then he just slowly ripples outwards, all the way out the laity - and then, having reached the outer borders of the Church, he goes further and greets those who are closest to the Church: those who share with us in the sacrament of Baptism.

Then he moves still further out to go beyond those who at least believe in Christ, by greeting the Jews - because they are, logically, next in line. They don't believe in Jesus or the Sacraments (like Protestants do), but they do believe in God and hold the Old Testament to be sacred, as we do.

Finally, he goes the last step and greets unbelievers as well.

Do you know why I think this is so very hopeful, that he followed this particular pattern?

Because this is the very same pattern that is used in the Traditional Good Friday prayers for the conversion/well-being of the whole world, prayers which also make this outward-rippling motion: we pray, in order, for the Church, the pope, the Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Subdeacons, etc., and for "all the holy people of God," then we pray for Catechumens, "heretics and schismatics" (Benedict XVI's "those who have been reborn in the sacrament of Baptism but are not yet in full communion with us"), the "perfidious Jews," and last of all, "for the pagans."

You asked why he only mentioned the Jews specifically, singled them out; because the Good Friday prayers only mention them specifically and single them out. He lumps together Eastern Orthodox and Protestants in the one phrase "those who have been reborn in the sacrament of Baptism but are not yet in full communion with us," just as the liturgical prayers lumps them together under the category "heretics and schismatics." The "Sikhs and the Baha'is," along with Buddhists, Animists, and the rest, are collectively gathered up in his "all men and women of today, believers and non-believers alike," just as the liturgy groups together under the term "pagans."

I think our Holy Father, whom everyone knows is and has been a serious student of liturgy for many years, is thinking liturgically here; he knows what he is doing. He's quietly praying the Good Friday prayers as he greets each group in order.

You said:

"It's a fact that one can't preach the Gospel without 'offending' Jews. And it's a fact that we must preach the Gospel. So how do we do that in such a way as to eliminate or ameliorate the effects of that home field advantage? It will take a chess player. My prayer is that his inaugural greeting to 'the Jews' was just the opening move of a player who's playing totally for our team."

Precisely, and I think that's what we just saw. It's something subtle enough that only a Catholic would really catch it, so none of the ignorant media personnel are going to get all fired up. Neither will the Jews, because they don't know our liturgy like we do.

I think it's a stroke of genius, actually. With a subtle nod in the general direction of liturgical order and form, he's said all he needs to say for the moment.

For the moment.


Question 53- Contradictions

I feel deeply moved by your articles and understand what your are saying.One thing that trobles me is how you sometimes seem to contradict your own statements.For example I read your articles about our new Pope.In one you stated that he would clean the Church of errors,which I hope he does. Then in another article you pointed out how he brought a man on to be bishop who was not acceptable.

Can you please shed some light on this.Also in your Article about the wearing the veil.I accept this too,but on your web site you have Maureen Sungenis(your wife I suppose) working outside the home. What about that,don't get me wrong I am a stay at home mom. I'm not attacking you in the least,I would just like a responce.
Mrs Bardgett

R. Sungenis: Mrs. Bardgett, regarding Pope Benedict versus Cardinal Ratzinger, our job at CAI is to point out where Catholics make their mistakes. Cardinal Ratzinger was a good man, but he was certainly not perfect. We call it like it is, not showing favoritism to anyone but Jesus Christ and Catholic dogma. That is also why our article on Pope Benedict is both optimistic and cautionary.

As for my wife Maureen, the CAI office is in our home, and she does only a few things for us. She doesn't put in more than a few hours per week, and that is work she can do at the kitchen table. I hope that relieves your concerns.


Question 52- Theology of Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was described with the theology bent of a Thomist while Pope Benedict VI is described as an Augustinian. Would you agree with this characterization and could you explain the diffeerence betwwen a Thomist and an Augustinian?
Thanks, Amy

R. Sungenis: In my opinion, John Paul II was neither a Thomist nor an Augustinian. I'm still trying to figure out what he was. John Paul II certainly didn't write like a Thomist, nor did he argue like one. The closest thing to John Paul II's philosophy is Phenomenology, since he was under the tutelage of the Max Schaler school of philosophy. Phenomenology is the philosophy that seeks to treat things as they appear rather than trying to figure out their underlying components. This would explain a lot of John Paul II's side-stepping of traditional theology and his penchant to address the moment. It explains Assisi, his reticence to consecrate Russia, his universalist theology, his apologies for the past, his ignoring of the heresies in Protestant theology, etc.

A Thomist is one who follows the Aristotelian method of philosophy. An Augustinian is one who follows closer to Plato, but Augustine was more of a Neo-Platonist.

Below are the opening pages of a paper I wrote on Augustine. In it you will see the differences between Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy. I think it will help you, since I put it in very simply terms. (A Ph.D. in philosophy told me it was the best five-minute summary of the history of philosophy he ever heard!). Enjoy.

"The first thing I think we need to understand about Augustine is that, in many of his concepts, a Platonic or Neo-Platonic forms the framework of his thought. According to most modern philosophers, Plato is the beginning of all philosophy. Among other things, Platonism contains the philosophical concept that the material world we experience on earth has, in the spiritual realms, an ideal image of itself. For lack of a better analogy, it is like the image in a mirror, but an image that does not disappear when the material object it is reflecting is removed.

Picture yourself being bit by a mosquito. There is one thing important to know about this mosquito, however. It is the last mosquito alive on planet earth. Nevertheless, because of the pain, you decide to smack the mosquito with your hand. Having been flattened like a pancake, the mosquito is virtually unrecognizable. But you need not lose hope that you have eliminated the mosquito entirely from existence, because according to Plato, in the spiritual realm there is an ideal image of a mosquito preserved for eternity, and thus the universe shall never lose the perfect picture and essence of a mosquito.

Hence, in Platonic philosophy, it was the “ideal image” in the spiritual realm that gave everything of the material world its real meaning and purpose. According to Plato, we know of this ideal world of images because we once existed there, but now we find ourselves on planet Earth living out a somewhat un-idealistic life.

This is where the philosophical phrase “a priori” originates for we, according to Plato, had a “prior” life in another world. From the knowledge we gained in this “prior life,” we possess eternal truths which we obtained from the ideal images – truths that will never change, whether the are stated here, on Mars, Alpha Centauri, or wherever; or whether they were stated in the past, in the present, or in the future. How does a seven year old know that 2 +2 not only equals four, but will always equal four? How does a grown man know it will always be wrong to take his neighbor’s wife? How do Americans know that there will always be death and taxes? Because these are “a priori” eternal truths that can never change.

The search for the origin and nature of eternal truths is behind every philosophy known to man. This has always been the most significant philosophical question: “what do we know; and how do we know it?” (Or as we find in the world of political intrigue: “what did he know and when did he know it?”).

Plato answered the question of the origin of eternal truths by saying they came from “a priori” knowledge. Aristotle answered the question a little differently. He held that eternal truths come from the process of abstraction, not “a priori” knowledge. We see the mosquito on our arm. We smash it. We see a wing here, a proboscis there, and even though it is hardly recognizable as a mosquito, we reason with our “ancient intellect,” as Aristotle called it, that this mosquito, even if it were to be disintegrated into a speck on our arm, came from a long line of mosquitoes, and that which we see on our arm is only its accidens, its outward form, not the real substance of the mosquito. The real substance of the mosquito, or of being a mosquito, is hidden beneath the accidens, and each material object is composed of both accidens and substance. As we might expect, Aristotle’s “substance” corresponds to Plato’s “ideal image,” but Aristotle’s is in the realm of everyday existence on earth, whereas Plato’s is in some ethereal spiritual realm.

This difference between the two philosophies is precisely why in the painting by Raphael titled “The School of Athens,” Plato’s hand is pointing vertical while Aristotle is pointing horizontal. The contrast between the two schools is also one of the main differences between the overall approaches of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, since after the discovery of the Aristotelian library by the Muslims in the Middle East at the turn of the first millennium, the works of Aristotle only then migrated to Europe, the home of Thomas Aquinas.

It is the same reason why almost twelve hundred years after the Last Supper only then did the Catholic Church dogmatically defined the nature of the Eucharist at the Fourth Lateran Council, since by this time the philosophy of Aristotle gave us at least some mental concept of what might be occurring in the transubstantiation of the Eucharist, and thus the appearance of bread was understood as the accidens, but the presence of Christ was understood as the substance, which had miraculously replaced the substance of bread.
The truth is that we cannot grasp reality, at least adequately, unless we have a balance between the Platonic universals and the Aristotelian particulars. On the one hand, we cannot look at life as mere ideals without knowing its details and diversity; on the other hand, we cannot get fixated on the details without having universals to keep it all together, so to speak. Where the twain meet no one has quite been able to figure out, and this is why, after Immanuel Kant, philosophy has more or less resigned itself to accepting that it will never find an answer, and thus we see the rise of pessimistic philosophies such as nihilism, existentialism, and the reason why modern art and architecture are so bizarre. Modern man has given up hope of finding a unified field of knowledge.

Although Augustine was influenced by Platonism, he did not believe in Plato’s concept of a “prior life” in some ethereal existence before we came to earth. Being a Christian, Augustine believed we were created by God. Nevertheless, he searched Scripture for a truth that corresponded to Plato’s “a priori” truths. Augustine found his answer in John 1:9 which, speaking of Christ, it says, “This was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” According to Augustine, it is Christ who gave each man the “a priori” knowledge, the eternal truths, that Plato had ascribed to “a prior life.”
Thirteen hundred years later, Immanuel Kant tried to say the same thing. He held that man’s knowledge of eternal truths were a product of what he called “the categories of the mind,” but the insurmountable obstacle that Kant faced was that he had no way of proving that what we knew in our mind corresponded to the reality of the “thing in itself” that we saw outside of our mind. As a result, our mental knowledge could not be called absolute knowledge, and thus eternal truths were limited to our mind. It was all in our head, so to speak.

Neither Kant nor Plato believed in an intimate and personal God who could give such “a priori” knowledge, and this is the basic difference between the Greeks, modern philosophy and Christianity: divine revelation and miraculous creation.

But being somewhat of a Platonist in his approach to life, Augustine had a tendency, or perhaps a penchant, to assign allegorical or idealistic interpretations to the historical narratives of Scripture, especially when he thought the narrative was too hard to interpret on the mundane and literal level. Sometimes, to answer the difficulty, Augustine would create a hybrid of literal and allegorical interpretation. Often he would insist that the hybrid was also a literal interpretation, but a different “literalness” than what we are accustomed to.

For example, since in Genesis 1 Augustine saw no mention of the creation of the angels, he adopted an interpretation of Genesis 1:3 which asserted that the “light” in the clause “Let there be light” referred to the creation of the angels rather than to light we know as consisting of photons. This self-imposed quest to find room for the angels would inevitably affect both Augustine’s interpretation of the rest of Genesis 1, and set a precedent for biblical interpretation with which exegetes from then to now have not ceased to struggle........


Question 51- The Election of Benedict XVI

Yours is the first article I’ve seen that has emphasized that this new Pope was elected 40 years after the end of Vatican II and that the time period lends itself naturally to being seen as a required period of wandering in the wilderness to be followed by a return to the Promised Land. There is reason for optimism, and you have succinctly said why. What we must now do is read the book of Joshua and realize that getting back into the Promised Land requires not merely a Joshua but also a host willing to follow him, working very hard and risking the full enmity of the world.

R. Sungenis: Well said. The Israelites weren't without trouble when the crossed the Jordan into Canaan. It will take the uncompromising faith of each one of us. No Achans in this group


Question 50- More Baptism of Desire


Using "or" as Trent did, inclusively, is completely normal, common and correct; both in current times, and when Trent was written. My brother is a priest, so I checked, and Latin is the same. I have not checked Trent for another specific occurence because I already know that "or" is a conjunction, and oftentimes an inclusive one. There is no arguing that. Check any dictionary. It is not bad grammer, nor incorrect, nor even southern American (whatever that is), to use "or" as a conjunction. In fact, I'd guess most all people who've used "or" have not only used it exclusively (this or that), but also inclusively (as I've done in these sentences below). It's that common!

No doubt you can come up with thousands more grammatically correct uses for "or" as an inclusive conjunction.

R. Sungenis: Elaine, if you don't check how Trent used it, then you don't have a leg to stand on. Not only does Trent not use "or" the way you are suggesting, whenever the "desire" issue comes up again, it is always in reference to TWO ways of accomplishing a sacrament.

Chapter 14: but also the sacramental confession of the same, at least in desire and to be made in its season, and sacerdotal absolution, as well as satisfaction by fasting, almsgiving, prayers, and other devout exercises of the spiritual life, not indeed for the eternal punishment, which is remitted together with the guilt either by the sacrament or the desire of the sacrament, but for the temporal punishment [Canon 30]

Canon 4: 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.


Question 49- Geocentrism Challenge 5

R. Sungenis: I'm sure you are aware that precession is a common phenomenon in the heavenly bodies. Just as a gyroscope will precess around its center of mass if initiated with a suitable force, so will the universe precess around its center of mass.

Walter: Even if you could compare the Universe to a gyroscope – if the Earth is fixed (held in place by God) and the Universe precesses about its center of mass than you may think you have resolved the problem of the changing seasons, however, you have introduced a new problem. The fact is that the Earth’s north pole continually points to the North star (a fixed point in the universe) – which puts a kink in your argument. In order for your model to then work the orbital plane of our solar system would somehow have to be de-coupled from the precessive (or lack there of) motion of the spinning universe. Over the course of a year the axis of rotation of the Sun (and the rest of the planets) for example would precess while the axis of rotation of the rest of the Universe would remain fixed on the North star. How is it that you account for such a complex motion of the celestial bodies? Isn’t a far more simple explanation that the gyroscopic motion of the Earth itself is what helps to hold the axis of rotation of the Earth fixed on the North star as it orbits the Sun – and that it is the axis or rotation of the Earth itself that is tilted with respect to its orbital plane around the Sun – that the seasons are therefore determined by whether the north pole of the Earth is tilted toward the Sun (when the Sun is between the Earth and the north star) or away from the Sun (when the Earth is between the Sun and the north star) depending upon where the Earth happens to be in its orbit around the Sun.

R. Sungenis2: There is no problem in the model, since the Sun remains in the same orbital plane as the rest of the universe. When the universe precesses, so does the orbit of the Sun. In fact, this universal precession can explain everything from parallax, stellar aberration, Doppler shift, precession of the equinoxes and perihelion precession. Incidentally, it was Misner, Thorne and Wheeler in “Gravitation” that gave us the formula stating that a rotating universe acts like a gyroscope, and the forces it creates will keep the center of mass perfectly still.

R. Sungenis: I never said there was a "pull" from the earth. "Pull from the earth" was your assumption. For that matter, neither of us know what the nature of gravity is. I merely hold that the center of mass balances out the centrifugal and gravitational forces, and does so no matter what latitude is in view. The same thing is true in the physics of General Relativity, otherwise, not even your heliocentric system would be stable.

Walter: If you are suggesting that the center of mass of the Universe is producing the gravitational force necessary to balance out the huge centrifugal force felt by objects at the edge of the Universe that are traveling at such mind boggling velocities in order to complete their orbit around the center of mass of the universe (in a single day), I find this hard to believe. You say that “neither of us know what the nature of gravity is” … I do know this much – the force of gravity is very accurately proportional to Newton’s inverse square law for relatively weak gravitational fields such as exist for all the planets in our solar system except mercury who’s orbit around the Sun is slightly perturbed due to its close proximity to the Sun. So unless there is some strange effect predicted in General Relativity as a result of this rotational motion that you say the entire Universe is undergoing, then there simply is not enough gravity to counter the centrifugal effect of the outermost bodies- if they are traveling as fast as you say they are.

R. Sungenis2: I already explained to you, via Rosser, that General Relativity allows these so-called “mind-boggling” speeds due to the simple principle of co-equivalence. Evidently, the mathematical equations that balance the centrifugal and gravitational forces are then reciprocal in Einstein’s alternate, though non-preferred, universe. Misner, Thorne and Wheeler say the same, as does Thirring and Barbour and Bertotti. The only thing you had to offer in rebuttal was whether or not I quoted my sources accurately, and that you hadn’t yet read the Barbour and Berotti essay. Don’t you think you ought to investigate these phenomena more closely before you throw up your hands and claim they are “hard to believe”?

Walter: This does bring to light a very interesting point though – Scientists have found through analysis of detected distant supernova, a very strange observation- that the expansion of the Universe is in fact accelerating. The only explanation I have heard thus far for this is that the constant creation and destruction of virtual particles throughout the vacuum of space is somehow creating some kind of positive expansive energy. Your suggestion that the entire Universe is in rotation is very difficult for me to accept – given the rate of rotation you are suggesting – however, it might very well be the case that the Universe was imparted with some initial angular momentum at the time of the big bang, and that this angular momentum has produced a centrifugal force experienced by all objects from the center of the Universe. And that as time goes on and all the objects in the Universe get further and further away from one another and the force of gravity between them drops off – the centrifugal component has more and more of an effect – actually accelerating the expansion of the Universe. I do not think, however, if the Universe is under rotation, that it is under the kind of rotation you are suggesting and that this rotation is somehow a replacement for the more reasonable and widely accepted fact that the Earth itself is a rotating body.

R. Sungenis2: You have the prerogative to choose which one you prefer. All that I insist upon is that you tell the world your choice is based on “preference,” not scientific fact. The “Geocentric Challenge” is not so much for the purpose of proving geocentrism on a scientific basis as it is an attempt to show heliocentrists that they have been claiming as proof something that has never been proven, and thus not to think of geocentrists as some sort of know-nothing Neanderthals who simply want to start an argument.

Walter: I will do some research on the General Relativity of a Universe under rotation and see if there are any merits to some of your assertions – however, I think it will be quite difficult to explain away the fact that the northern and southern most celestial bodies which undergo a completely different observable motion about the center of mass of the Universe (The Earth- according to the Geocentrist), behave in exactly the same manner as those objects that orbit it once every 24 hours.
After all, the Universe is not like some huge blueberry muffin spinning about some axis. The objects that comprise the Universe are too distant from one another for the force of gravity to hold them all together so rigidly that the entire object behaves as one large rigid body (like a blueberry muffin). This is why most galaxies for example are flat spiral rather than cluster. Cluster galaxies have no clear rotational axis (not to be confused with a central point) about which all of the member stars orbit. Spiral galaxies, on the other hand, are in a more uniform rotation and form flat disks with an axis of rotation going through the center and perpendicular to the plane or rotating disc of stars. The reason for this is that any hypothetical object that might try to orbit the axis of rotation of the galaxy “north” or “south” of the disc will either: eventually be drawn to the center of the galaxy, drawn to the plane of the disc, or flung out into space away from the galaxy. It is only those objects that are revolving about BOTH the common axis of rotation and the center of mass that are able to maintain a stable orbit about the galactic center. These objects remain because there is a balance between the gravitational force pulling them toward the center of the galaxy and the centrifugal force pushing them away. The instant you try to have an object spin about the axis of rotation “north” or “south” of this disc the forces are no longer counter balanced in a way to maintain that kind of motion and the object immediately starts to undergo a different kind of motion altogether – which explains why such objects don’t exist.

R. Sungenis2: That there may be vast distances between the material objects in space I will grant you. I will also grant that, under current Newtonian laws, there is not enough gravity to hold it all together. That is why, of course, they have invented “Dark Matter” to the tune of 95% of the total matter of the universe. Evidently, something is wrong with current physics, for they can’t seem to find this needed matter, nor explain the rotation of spiral galaxies. Einstein’s gravitational potentials simply aren’t going to fill the bill. This is why we insist that space is not a vacuum, and gravity is not a warping of space, but is a result of the tension created in space composed of an infinitesimal substance.

Walter: So if the entire Universe we to undergo the kind of motion you are suggesting then the entire Universe would have to be in the form of a disc with the vast majority of matter concentrated at a plane that extends out onto the equatorial plane of the Earth with little or no matter existing at the northern or southern latitudes. Since the entire Universe is more or less homogeneous in every direction especially when scanned from North to the equator and then South, it doesn’t seem possible that the Universe could be under such a uniform rotation.

R. Sungenis2: What better environment for consistent rotation than an isotropic universe? (I’m not sanctioning a homogeneous universe, since a homogeneous/isotropic universe implies a non-geocentric universe). A washing machine with clothes balanced on either side spins rather nicely. You can distribute the clothes spherically or in disc-shape, and the results will be the same.


Question 48- Are you confident enough to consent to being sued?

Dear CAI:

Greetings. Please let me know if the "proof" that you will accept is competent, admissible evidence in courts of law, or are you just stirring things up for entertainment value. Because I've got incontrovertible proof, and I want that money.

Also, are you confident enough to consent to being sued in the courts of the State of New York should you deny my incontrovertible evidence?

Please respond.

John J

R. Sungenis: John, our website says we at CAI are the sole judge of whether you have "incontrovertible evidence," not the State of New York. If you want to play by those rules, then you can submit your "proof." If not, then I suggest you take your evidence somewhere else.


Question 47- SSPX

I am from a place where there are not very many Catholics and not a lot of choices regarding the Latin Mass. I found a website that said there was a latin Mass at a mission of SSPX in a hotel chapel. What is the relationship between SSPX and the Vatican, is their Mass legitimate?
Thanks in advance!

R. Sungenis: The SSPX is in schism with the Vatican, at least that is the latest word from the Vatican unless there is some clarification. We are allowed to attend an SSPX mass, but we are not allowed to enjoin their schismatic spirit.


Question 46- Geocentrism Challenge 4

How are stellar parallax shifts accounted for in the geocentric model?

Also, does sidereal time measure the time it takes for the Earth to rotate or for the stars to revolve?

R. Sungenis: Stellar parallax is caused by the angular movement of the equivalent of a 2AU distance against a fixed earth. In other words, as the stars rotate around the earth, every six months the nearer stars will be observed at a different angle against the farther stars as seen from a fixed earth.

As for sidereal time, it is the time it takes for the stars to translate around the earth, which is 23hours and 56 minutes.


Question 45- Baptism of Desire, No Salvation Outside the Church, Part 2

Dear Robert S,

Thanks for your response. However, I already demonstratedthe use of the word "or" when it acts like an "and" when I wrote the sentence about cars. Here's that sentence from my email to you: Just like your car won't work without oil or gas.

Both oil and gas are necessary to operate a car.

R. Sungenis: Nice try, but using "or" when you mean "and" is bad grammar. The Council of Trent doesn't speak like a southern American. I suggest you examine the way Trent used the word "or" throughout its declarations. You won't find one time that "or" means "and."


Question 44- Baptism of Desire, No Salvation Outside the Church

Dear Robert S,

Your answer text in question 49 on your CAI website on the subject of Baptism by Desire says that Trent states you can have baptism by desire and not get the character, yet go to heaven. Trent doesn't say anything of the kind. Trent's quote on the subject is:

"In which words is given a brief description of the justification of the sinner, as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. This translation however cannot, since promulgation of the Gospel, be effected except through the laver of regeneration or its desire, as it is written: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.[18]"

So, according to Trent, 'water' and 'desire' are BOTH necessary. You cannot isolate these words outside this sentence as though they are two entities that separately can bring about justification! Just like water alone cannot save, desire alone cannot save. This statement is formed in the negative tense, but remains clear: two things in conjunction, water and desire...that is, BOTH--water and the spirit, are necessary. (In case you're wondering about the "or" used, the word "or" is a conjunction and is used as an "and", which is very normal behavior for the word "or".) Trent is saying that you cannot have a "translation" without these two things--water or desire. Just like your car won't work without oil or gas. YOU NEED BOTH!
There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. There is only ONE baptism. Water alone won't accomplish the work. To say desire alone can save, suggests that water alone can save because it would mean the two words in the above statement can be separated. Linguistically, that doesn't work and theologically, it doesn't work. If water alone can save, it's ok to baptize the unwilling. We know that isn't the case. Desire without water won't accomplish the work, either. Why? Because Trent says the translation cannot be effected except through the laver of regeneration or it's desire, as it is written, Unless a man be born again of WATER and the HOLY GHOST, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The comparison is made between two things and two things--both are necessary! Water is a must! The Spirit of God is a must! Said in the positive sense, Trent's statement affirms both, water and the spirit are necessary for baptism to be salvific.
Thank you,

R. Sungenis: Elaine, I've seen clever ways to try to get around Trent's statement, but yours certainly is the most inventive. Your statement: "In case you're wondering about the "or" used, the word "or" is a conjunction and is used as an "and", which is very normal behavior for the word "or"," is the most outlandish I've seen. I suggest you take a refresher course in Latin and English grammar. Or does not mean and, in any language.


Question 43- The Billion Dollar Challenge

And I’ll give you one billion dollars if you can prove to me the existence of God.

R. Sungenis: I'll give you two billion if you can prove to me he doesn't exist.


Question 42- The Sun and Infallibility, Part 2

Thanks for your informative response. I had remembered hearing about the 1993 pronouncement, but didn't realize it was simply an apology, not a change of church doctrine.

I will make a small donation to your organization if you can prove to me, based on the same qualifiers as the earth and sun question (no expert testimony, etc.), that Dallas, Texas is north of Austin, Texas.

Barrett B

R. Sungenis: If the earth is fixed in space, then there is an "up" and there is a "down"; there is a "north" and there is a "south." The patristics, Scripture and three Church pronouncements tell us earth is fixed. Modern science tells us it no longer has a way to disprove a fixed earth. Thus, if you believe the three aformentioned authorities, then Dallas is north of Austin, and Hell is south of both of them. I hope you understand.


Question 41- The Sun and Infallibility


I would submit the following proof, using information you accept as givens:

Given: The Pope is infallible when making pronouncements regarding the Catholic faith.

Given: The Pope has pronounced that the Earth revolves around the sun, as of 1993.

Therefore, according to your own beliefs, the Earth revolves around the sun.

Barrett B

R. Sungenis: Barrett, although you are correct in stating that when the pope issues an infallible declaration Catholics must consider this a judgment that contains no error, no such infallible declaration (that the earth revolves around the sun) has ever been made, not even close. The only thing John Paul II announced was a general apology to Galileo for the manner in which he was treated by the Sacred Congregation of 1633. No admission that Galileo was right and the Church was wrong was ever made, either in 1993 or at any other time. In fact, according to Catholic Church protocol, unless the decrees from 1616 under Paul V, 1633 under Urban VIII, and 1664 under Alexander VII are formally reversed, then the official stance of the Catholic Church regarding Copernicanism remains as it was in the seventeenth century, contrary to popular opinion.


Question 40- The Geocentrism Challenge 3

Assuming, for a minute, that all of your quoted sources are correct and that these statements fall into the proper context of this problem (as promised there is another formal proof forthcoming in which I will attempt to address all of these points you are making) – how do you account for the change of seasons resulting from the changing angle of the sun - the fact that the sun is higher in the sky in the summer time [sweeps out a much larger arc in the sky] than in the winter? What force causes the orbital plane of the Sun to rise in North latitude relative to the equatorial plane of the Earth in the Summer (Northern Hemisphere’s Summer) and then South of the equator in the Winter (Northern Hemisphere Winter)?

R. Sungenis:I'm sure you are aware that precession is a common phenomenon in the heavenly bodies. Just as a gyroscope will precess around its center of mass if initiated with a suitable force, so will the universe precess around its center of mass.

Walter: If the Earth is generating this humongous centripetal gravitational field then how is it that the parts of the Universe that are directly above the North and South poles are essentially stationary relative to the poles? – There is no centrifugal force due to a lack of orbital motion around the Earth (no tangential velocity) to counter the Earth’s pull to towards the Geocentrist’s “center of the Universe” (the Earth).

I am enjoying the dialogue as well…. Please keep it going.

R. Sungenis: I never said there was a "pull" from the earth. "Pull from the earth" was your assumption. For that matter, neither of us know what the nature of gravity is. I merely hold that the center of mass balances out the centrifugal and gravitational forces, and does so no matter what latitude is in view. The same thing is true in the physics of General Relativity, otherwise, not even your heliocentric system would be stable.


Question 39- The Geocentrism Challenge 2

Walter: So it sounds to me like, in your view (the Geocentrist’s view) that, there is no acknowledgement of the Earth as a ROTATING (SPINNING) body (not to be confused with a REVOLVING body- orbiting another body) – My argument assumed that a Geocentrist accepts the fact that the Earth is actually a ROTATING or SPINNING body – this puts a whole new twist on things and I would like to therefore rework my proof based upon this.

R. Sungenis: Acuatlly, Walter, most geocentrists deny a diurnal movement of the earth, as well as a translational movement. I only know of one modern group that advocates a diurnally moving earth -- the C.E.S.H.E. group in Europe taking after the work of Fernand Crombette. END

Walter: I did take a brief look at the dialogue on your site regarding these arguments – I will take a look at the Barbour-Bertolli paper, if I can find it, and then rework my proof as my proof does not deal directly with your viewpoint which appears to be-

- That the entire Universe is REVOLVING around the Earth at a frequency of once per day
- That the center of mass for the entire Universe sits at the center of the Earth
- My guess would be that you also have some kind of mathematical proof that explains away the Coriolis effect? I would love to hear about that.

R. Sungenis: We don't "do away" with the Coriolis force. In fact, we can legitimately call it a "force" rather than an "effect" because we can show through Barbour and Bertotti that the Coriolis force is a direct result of the "distant rotating masses" that so intrigued Einstein, and to which Einstein conceded to Mach (and which was put in mathematical formula by Thirring) that a "force" would, indeed, be created. Thirring shows that a radial centrifugal force, an axial centrifugal force and a Coriolis force is created by positioning the earth in the center of a rotating star system. END

Walter: - That the laws of physics are somehow the same throughout the Universe except when it comes to how all the rest of the bodies in the Universe interact with the Earth itself.

R. Sungenis: No, in fact we use Relativity's own co-equivalence theory to show that there is no difference between a geocentric or acentric system. In the Newtonian system the earth can act as the center of mass while the centrifugal force balances out the gravitational force; while in the Relativity system, we just use the co-equivalence physics Einstein developed. For example, W.G.V. Rosser states:

"Relative to the stationary roundabout [the Earth], the distant stars would have a velocity r? [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) END

Walter: However I will immediately say this-
In order for the Sun to be able to go around the Earth once per day without flying out into space, the Earth’s mass or its gravitational pull on the Sun would have to be tremendous. If this were the case then how come all of the inhabitants of the Earth are not somehow crushed under the Earth’s gigantic gravitational force? Does the way we interact with the Earth’s gravitational field somehow differ from the way in which the Sun interacts with it? Also, since the force of gravity drops off with distance, how is it that the celestial bodies at the edge of the Universe (furthest from the Earth) still sense enough gravity to stay orbiting around the Earth – NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT THEY WOULD PROBABLY HAVE TO BE TRAVELLING AT SEVERAL TIMES FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT IN ORDER TO COVER THE DISTANCE OF AN ORBIT AROUND THE EARTH THAT HAS A RADIUS OF 1000’s if not millions of light years in radius IN A SINGLE DAY! Or the fact that objects such as probes that have been launched into outer space – orbiting the Earth and then sent to other bodies in our solar system without crashing due to a shift from the unique physics of the Geocentrist Earth to the physics of the rest of the Universe – but rather behaved exactly as expected when Newtonian mechanics was applied equally to all bodies (including the Earth) – applying the appropriate gravitational forces from the Earth to the probes and then from the other objects in our solar system to the probes. If the Universe is spinning at such a mind boggling rate (once every 24 hours) what mystical force (if not gravity) is holding it together – and what physics are you using to describe this mystical force?

R. Sungenis: We simply use the current evidence that space is not a vacuum, but, similar to String Theory, is filled with infinitesimal particles at the Planck dimension or smaller. As such, it would require a rotation of a least once per day to keep the system stable. This has been worked out mathematically, and will be presented in our book, "Galileo Was Wrong." As for the sun's relation with the earth, the distant stellar masses, when all added together, create a suitable counterbalance to the earth-sink, and thus the sun and its planets can translate with relative ease around the earth.

But the "Geocentric Challenge" we offer does not call for me to defend geocentrism; it calls for you to prove heliocentrism. So with that, I'm going to curtail my comments and wait for your "proof."

Thank you for the dialogue.
Robert Sungenis


Question 38- The Geocentrism Challenge

Dear Sir/Madam,
Per your challenge found on your web site at:


Attached you will find my proof of the fact that the Earth does indeed go around the Sun. Please contact me via Email to let me know if I have sufficiently met your challenge so that I may furnish you my mailing address so that you can mail me a check for $1,000.
Thank you,

R. Sungenis: Walter, thank you for your submission. I'm sorry to inform you, however, that your diagrams and explanation do not prove heliocentrism. If you read the rebuttals on our website, we've already dealt with similar claims. The same centrifugal and Coriolis forces that heliocentrists attribute to a rotating earth in a fixed star system can be, according to Mach's principle, be attributed to a fixed-earth in a rotating star system. You may want to check the paper written by Barbour and Bertotti that explains this phenomenon.


Question 37- John Vennari in error

Mr Sungenis,

I read an article by John Vennari called "Pope Pius X model of papal authority" Part 2. Seeing you defend (rightly) Vatican II from having any error when it does speak on doctrine (even if not an extraordinary statements) you will have to disagree strongly with your fellow traditionalist. He says Vatican II contradicts previous Church teaching on religious liberty (and miscontrues what the Council says by saying it said that that non Catholic have a right to practice their religions even though it actually said they have a right to immunity from coercion from the state within certain limits). Seeing you contribute to his magazine and occasionally put up an article by him on your website perhaps you should inform him of his error.

I'm not sure by the way what the protocol is to have a question answered. I know you are busy but I had a couple of questions I submitted a while ago. Perhaps they didn't get through. It was about (mainly) papal infalliblity. For now I must say re one of your recent answers that it seems as though you don't think that ordinatio is ex cathedra. What is lacking in it? Maybe you should talk to Fr Harrison about that one!

R. Sungenis: Matt, I think John already knows what I've said about Dignitatis Humanae. To be sure of where he stands, I suggest you write to him and find out, laying out the distinctions you sight above. If he maintains the position you sight above, then, yes, we do disagree.

As for Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the only thing that is missing is the pope's affirmation that it was an infallible teaching. The closest the Church has gotten to declaring it infallible is Cardinal Ratzinger's forced answer to his critiques, but Ratzinger is not the pope. Canon 749.3 says "No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident." The very fact that we are arguing about this means that the infallibility of OS has not been made "manifestly evident." On the other hand, I'm not saying that it isn't infallible. I'm just saying that if we go by precise Church protocol, it's infalliblity has not been infallibly declared yet.


Question 36- Baptism of Child

If a Catholic marries a non catholic in a civil ceremony and they have a child, can the child be baptised in the Catholic Church?

R. Sungenis: Yes, and the parents themselves should reconcile with the Church and have their marriage blessed by the Church.


Question 35New Testament and End Times

Good morning,

Mark 9.1: "He also said to them,"Amen, I say to you, there are SOME STANDING HERE who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power."

Mark 13:30: "Amen I say to you, THIS GENERATION will not pass away until all these things have taken place." (ref: Mark 13:23-27)

1 Thes 4:15: "Indeed we tell you this on the ON THE WORD OF THE LORD, that WE WHO ARE ALIVE, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not procede those who have fallen asleep."

In sum, does not "some standing here," this generation," and "we who are alive, " refer to Jesus' and Paul's own generation, and evidence that Jesus expected the parousia to occur within their generation?


R. Sungenis: Les, in the case of 1 Thess 4:16-17, it is indefinite as to which time period he is speaking, mainly because Paul told them in 2 Thess 2:1-4 that those events could not happen until the "man of sin is revealed."

As for Mark 13:30, "this generation" applies both in the historical sense and in the futuristic sense, since it is a double prophecy, just as the Abomination of Desolation has multiple applications.

As for Mark 9:1, it refers to the apostles who would be alive to see both the Transfiguration, the Resurrection and Pentecost. The one who would not be present for the Resurrection and Pentecost is Judas.


Question 34- Infallibility

Hi, Robert,

Can a dogmatic council's documents contain error of any sort if the anathemas, definitions of dogmas, and so forth are error-free? For example, imagine that the Council of Trent's documents say that Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door on a Saturday. If he actually posted them on a Sunday, would that show that the Council of Trent taught an error?

Thanks a lot.


R. Sungenis: Bill, the Council would prohibit itself for getting into any areas that are not about faith and morals. The date of Luther's actions would be one of those areas they would not address. Regarding faith and morals, yes, everything in a dogmatic ecumenical council is infallible.


Question 332 Thess 2:3-4

In the Douay-Rheims Bible 2 Thes: 3-4 is translated "Let no man deceive you by any means: for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition Who opposeth and is lifted up above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God."

As a protestant I learned a different translation for "revolt" as "apostasy". Is that a fair translation of that word?

R. Sungenis: Not only is it a fair translation, it is a more accurate translation, since the Greek word behind it is "apostasia." :)


Question 32Women wearing trousers 2

Mr. Sungenis,

Thank you for the reply. My only response or question to follow up would be whether or not women should make an effort to appear more feminine and I am thinking that is mostly accomplished with the wearing of dresses/skirts. And isn' t being truly feminine what women should aim for to be who God wants us to be? I guess what I am trying to say is that the way you dress makes you appear more or less feminine and others treat you accordingly ( possibly with more or less respect). Maybe chivalry is dead because women aren't dressing in a way that bring out the best in others.

I really do appreciate your thougts on the issue. Also, I am wondering if you had read either of those titles I referred to previously. Thank you.

R. Sungenis: Jeannie, yes, women should strive to dress in a feminine manner. That goes without saying.


Question 31Women wearing trousers

Hello Mr. Sungenis,

I am wondering if you have an opinion on whether or not women should wear trousers. I have read two titles discussing the issue Immodesty, Satans Virtue and the other written more recently titled Dressing with Dignity. I myself had been inspired by these books by being much more careful of my dress/attire but am finding great difficulty in being an exclusive skirt/fdress wearer. There are some quotes in scripture that support women not dressing like men: “A woman shall not be clothed with a man’s apparel; neither shall a man use woman’s apparel: for he that doeth these things is abominable before God “(22:5). And also, St. Thomas Aquinas:

“Outward apparel should be consistent with the state of the person according to general custom. Hence it is in itself sinful for a woman to wear man’s clothes, or vice-versa; especially since this may be the cause of sensuous pleasure; and it is expressly forbidden in the Law (Deut 22) …. Nevertheless this may be done at times on account of some necessity, either in order to hide oneself from enemies, or through lack of other clothes, or for some other such reason” (Summa Theologiae II, II, question 169, article 2, reply to objection 3).

I am curious if you have read/researched the subject and if so what your thoughts are on the issue. Some very devout women I know are split on the issue.

Thank you for considering my question.

R. Sungenis: Jeannie, there is no law written anywhere, or any solid worldwide immemorial custom that says pants are the exclusive domain of men. If one carries it that far, then why not argue that women should not wear blouses, since they resemble a man's shirt? The Old Testament and Aquinas are speaking about ostensible outward garments that obviously belong to one sex or the other. Sometime the line between what one sex should wear and what the other sex should wear is very thin, because our bodies are somewhat similar in certain areas. We have to use our common sense, and neither lean to far to the left or right, and leave a lot of room in the middle for different persuasions. Of course, women should try to distinguish themselves from men as much as possible, and vice versa, but there is room for overlap in certain areas. To use an analogy, it's the same principle that one of our Supreme Court justices used when deciding whether something was pornographic. His answer? "You know it when you see it." The same is true for dress. You know immodesty and cross-dressing when you see it.


Question 30Science Question

Dr. Robert Sungenis,

Realizing you are a very busy person, and my timing is not the greatest with the Pope's death looming large, I want to ask your advice.

We are a home school family who has struggled to find a good, reliable Science book for the upper grades with a distinctly Catholic perspective. We are not alone in this struggle. Here is a snippet from a recent e-loop that I belong to:

"I can answer your question. Seton *tolerates* the use of A Beka because there is no high school level, Catholic science textbook in existence. (No kidding.) There is a huge difference between "tolerating" and "endorsing." I think it important to note that difference.

That is why they are always working with Catholic educators/ writers, so that they can eventually develop their own Catholic science series for high school. It takes many years of research before the final edits and production takes place for *any* publisher, Catholic, Protestant or secular."

As you can see, we are sometimes *forced* to use materials that could actually harm our faith.

Why am I asking you? I follow your website and have read several of your books. I see an interest in Science & this-coupled with your clear and scholarly writing style could be of great service to the Catholic home school community.

Maybe someday you'll write a Science book for Catholic home schoolers? In the meantime, could you recommend something?

Blessings in Christ,
Gina Glenn
La Grange, Ky

R. Sungenis: Gina, I wish I had the time, believe me. For now, all I can offer you is what is on our website, and the upcoming book on Galileo (which will go into a lot of various science areas, not just cosmology). Other than that, alas, my plate is full.


Question 29Various Questions

Mr. Sungenis, I ran across, where on the Forum and elsewhere they seek to demonstrate that the Bible was originally penned in Aramaic, that it was later translated into Greek, and that the Greek contains mistranslations. Is this a valid view? Seeking to refute Dr. Ron Rhodes and Dr. Ian Paisley, I can across two arguments which I am not sure how to refute. What are the answers?

R. Sungenis: No, it is false. Not even Matthew was inspired in Aramaic, despite some claims to the contrary. We cover this issue extensively in our Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, Vol. 1, Matthew.

1) In Psalm 69:8, a prophecy of Christ, it says "I have become a stranger to my brethren, an alien to my mother's sons." Unlike the moer generic "brother", this specifically refers to the sons of Mary, showing that she was not a perpetual virgin.

R. Sungenis: No, because "ach" in Hebrew is also generic. A simple word study in the Hebrew will show this. Consult our Catholic Apologetics Study Bible on Matthew 13:55.

2) According to the Catholic interpretation of John 6:54, one must receive the Eucharist to go to heaven. But the Church maintains that baptized infants who have not received the Eucharist go to heaven, which is a contradiction.
Thank you very much!

R. Sungenis: The Church is referring only to those who are able to receive the Eucharist, as she makes clear in her dogma. Those who try to put Catholicism in a straightjacket always lose.


Question 28Please help Mr. S!!!

Mr. Sungenis,
While debating a cofC'er and stressing that there was only one church (Catholic) prior to the reformation, another poster called me ignorant and shot back...

"The Coptic and Chaldean churches split from the Catholic church in about AD 400

Orthodoxy itself split into many subsets including schisms with the Monophysites.

It is actually entirely UNTRUE that the Roman Catholic Church was the only Church until the Reformation, from the foundation of the Church, or ever."

Of course, I knew about the Orthodox schism, but being aware that this CofCer wasn't claiming affiliation with any Orthodox church (and that we had previously discussed the schism) I didn't bring it up. BUT, I don't know much about the Coptics and Chaldeans. Can you please give me a brief history lesson concerning these two churches?? And help me compose a come back for this poster??? I would greatly appreciate it Mr. Sungensis.

Thank you so much if you can and thank you for your excellent site!! I would give anything to be half as smart as you!

Peace and blessings,


R. Sungenis: Melia, yes there were Coptic and Chaldean branches that broke off from the Catholic Church long before the Orthodox did, but some of them have come back to the Church. In any case, when we say that there is only one true Church we are referring to the pedigree we have in the Roman Catholic Church which can trace its papacy all the way back to the first century by means of historical records. No other church can do this, and if they cannot, then they are not the true church. Very simple.


Question 27Flood, seasons, geocentrism

A few years ago, I wrote to you objecting that I could never be comfortable with geocentrism because the only way to explain the seasons would be to posit that the universe was "wobbling" gradually over a period of about 365 days. For what it's worth, I wish to retract this statement. It now seems to me that, assuming Dr. Walt Brown's hydroplate theory is true, an explanation of how this could be can be found. Dr. Brown, in his theory, maintains that the comets and the asteroids were expelled from the earth during the flood. Clearly, the transfer of such a large degree of matter would have a significant effect on the interplay of gravitational forces throughout the universe, perhaps even so as to cause it to "wobble," thus explaining the seasons within a geocentric framework as a consequence of the Great Flood. Maybe you've already though of this, but if it does come in useful, feel free to incorporate it into *Galileo Was Wrong.*

Michael H

R. Sungenis: Thank you for your insight, Michael. Perhaps there is some relevance to Walt's theory that is applicable to geocentrism, I don't know. Incidentally, the other solution in contrast to a wobbling universe, is to place the sun in the center of the universe, but have it revolve around the earth, which is off-center. This would create the same effect as a wobble. It is called the "Modified Tychonian" system.


Question 26Desire of Baptism

Hello Robert,

I am Michael, I wrote against baptism of desire being de fide in question #34 in July's Q&A. I have repented many months ago and no longer hold a belief against the proper understanding of desire of baptism due to your writings and the many who made their concerns known on your website. I was wrong. My belief was based on an over-reaction to the "Universalism" that I saw rampant within the "post-modern" Church. However, today I still do my best to steer my thoughts away from linking desire of baptism to invincible ignorance, because when I do so I get very confused. I restrict desire of baptism to those that at least know what baptism is and make a "vow" to receive it. I hold the possibility of salvation within the realm of invincible ignorance, but only in the extremest of extreme circumstances. This includes that the ignorance must be invincible, they must have done everything on their part to overcome such ignorance of God's true salvation, and they must die without mortal sin. While acknowledging the possibility, 1 Jn 5:17, due to Rom 3:23 and 1 Jn 1:8- I doubt that in reality such an exceptional ignorant individual can exist since scripture is so explicit about the absolute necessity of faithfully accepting Christ's sacrifice in order to appease the Father's wrath against us for the sins we commit. "No one who denies the Son has the Father..." -1 Jn 2:23. Those who reject Christ's sacrifice have no hope (Heb 10:29-31, Acts 4:12).

Our responsibility is to obey God's directives through his Church, this entails evangelizing and preaching the "necessity of baptism" and "No Salvation Outside the Church," and leave the rest to God's mercy- since it is God who judges the heart (1Cor 4:5).


R. Sungenis: Michael, very good. You've come a long way. The Catholic Church, as you can see, is also a church of common sense, as well as excellent theology. I'm glad you see both.


Question 25New Springtime Soon?

Mr. Sungenis,
I am wondering, as I'm sure others are, what your thoughts are concerning the passing of Pope John Paul II. I've come to rely on you for a thoughtful and traditional perspective on events, and with all of the current media frenzy surrounding his death, I'm wondering how this event might be understood in light of Tradition and Scripture, as well as the prophetic insights of the Saints. I have to admit that I have mixed feelings concerning the passing of Pope John Paul II, and I'm wondering if I'm missing something that others who are more generous with their praise were able to see. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel more frustration than joy when contemplating the lastest papacy, and I'm wondering if there is any reasonable foundation for hope in the future, at least in the human element of the Church and the society in which we live. Do you see a "New Springtime" around the corner?

R. Sungenis: Andrew, barring an intervention from God, no, I do not see a "springtime" around the proverbial corner.


Question 24Geosynchronous satellites


Congratulations on the baby.

I was reading the fascinating stuff on satellites in geosynchronous orbits. I'm not sure I understood what you were answering because all the print was the same color.

I think the original questioner had been asking whether, since a satellite 22,000 km up would be in the "firmament" or "aether" wouldn't it have to be firing thrusters all the time in order not to move with the aether, so it could maintain its position relative to one spot on earth?

And were you right when you said that geosynchronous satellites can only function at one altitude, about 22,000 km? or wasn't that you who said that?

So what is your theory? That a geosync satellite is shot up there, and depending on its own size and shape, perhaps, achieves an equilibrium relative to the magnetic and gravitational forces acting upon it, and at that point its ascent is halted, it becomes stationary, and then only has to be held in position there?

Do I have it?

R. Sungenis: John, yes, basically, you understand it. At 22,462 miles, the gravitation between the celestial sphere and the earth is in balance. This is only natural. As for the aether, the satellite would not have to use its thrusters against it because the aether will cause no negligible friction against the satellite. It's substance is supergranular, and thus will allow unimpeded movement in accord with F=ma.


Question 23Eastern Schism resources

Dear Catholic Apologetics International,

I wonder if you can perhaps answer several questions for me. I recently have visited your site, and I have noticed that, for the most part, your site includes apologetic material that is primarily directed against the claims of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. Although I understand that the most fervid anti-Catholics in this country tend to be those of the Protestant faith, I also know that the Orthodox have argued, for twice as long as the Protestants, against what they perceive to be Catholic errors. What I find interesting is that, whereas many of the Protestant beliefs are not well-founded in the early Church, the Orthodox seem to have a solid grip on Church history, even if they interpret it differently than do Western Catholics.

In any case, I have numerous friends who are Orthodox. Although they for the most part agree with me on several articles of the Catholic faith--including the Real Presence, the sacraments, justification, etc.--they firmly reject the notion of a bishop who has authority over the other bishops of the Church; and they also reject the filioque, since they argue that the addition conflicts with the Fathers (at least the Eastern Fathers) of the early Church. (They also emphasize that the individuals who were instrumental in the development of Trinitarian doctrine were the three Cappadocian Fathers--Easterners.)

So, although I am for the most part convinced that most, if not all, Protestant denominations distort the Apostolic truth in one way or another, I am not so sure about the Eastern Orthodox. I remember reading somewhere (and I appologize that I can't produce a source to back this claim) that the pope commended the Eastern Orthodox from safeguarding the seed of Apostolic faith. I also know for a fact that the CCC states that there is little which separates the Eastern and Western Church from celebrating a common communion.

I suppose that the difficulty I am having is in discerning which is the truth Church. Compared with the Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church is clearly more faithful to the beliefs of the early Church. But how does the Catholic Church compare with the Orthodox Church? I have read several Orthodox works by Timothy Ware, Vladimir Llovsky, and John Meyendorff, and to tell you the truth I oftentimes feel that they very well might be the true Church, rather than the Catholic Church of the West. One disturbing question that frequently comes to my mind is, why does the Western Church attempt to de-emphasize when describing West-East relations the filioque issue and the relatively late development of the papacy, whereas Orthodox are adamant in emphasizing what they see as error in the filioque clause, and in the theological importance of maintaining a collegiality of bishops as the means of making decisions in the Church, rather than allocating authority to one bishop over the others?

If possible, could you please give me some scholarly resources which covers the Eastern Schism and the Photian controversy that predeeded it? Thanks!

Ryan M

R. Sungenis: Ryan, the one Catholic I know who deals with these issues in depth is James Likoudis. He has a couple of books out on the subject. I'm sure you can find them at

Suffice it to say for now, the papacy started in Rome as attested by all the Latin and Greek Fathers, and they all gave their allegiance to Rome. History prior to the 1054 schism of the Eastern Orthodox is crystal clear about that. So anyone who comes along and now says that Rome no longer deserves that allegiance is surely incorrect. Don't be fooled. I've never seen a good argument from an Eastern Orthodox member yet. If you find one that troubles you send it along and I will help you.


Question 22Jn 13:5: Were there more than 12 apostles?

On Sunday my deacon made the audacious claim that Jn 13:5 can be used to argue that there were people other than the 12 apostles at the Last Supper, which contradicts the clear statements in the synoptic gospels. Because this statement was made in bible study class, I feel compelled to refute that statement on our in-house listserve, but in a kind and loving way via 1Peter 3:15.

Any suggestions as to how I can use Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium to slam dunk that novel interpretation?

From the biblical perspective, I will hit him with the word 'apostle' not being used in the Gospel of John, Lk 22:11 and 22:39 vs Lk 22:14, Mk 14:12-13 and 14:32 vs Mk 14:17, Matt 26:17-19 and 26:36 vs 26:26.

What I lack are any strong statements from Sacred Tradition or from a Church counsel. I believe it was at the Council of Trent that declares this was the event where Jesus confected the participants as priests?

R. Sungenis: David, if he is basing on the word "disciples," he doesn't have a leg to stand on, since it is interchangeable with "apostle," depending on the context. See, for example, the use of "disciple" in John 13:22-23, 35. Scripture is clear, however, that there were only 13 apostles (Paul being the 13th), and only 12 of them were at the last supper.

As for Church dogmatics on this, consult Ludwig Ott pages 336-338, 397, 450-452.


Question 21The End Time radio show

Hello Robert Sungenis,

I was just curious to know if you all have heard of a radio show called "Politics and Religion"? It is run by a man named Irvin Baxter (I hope I spelled his name right) who makes claims and "predictions" about the second coming of Christ according to the Book of Revelation. You know, he claims that China and Saddam, Korea and the UN are all in the Book of Revelation. Well lately, due to the passing of Pope John Paul II, this has given them an excuse to start with the Catholic bashing, and worse yet preaching extremely bad theology regarding the end times. For example: The next pope could be the anti-christ, John Paul II was a socialist (!?!?!) Rome is the "Whore of Babylon", etc. There was a Catholic theologian interviewed by the name of Marcelino D'Ambrosia (I think that's how you spell his name) on the program and the next day they bashed him as well. Well to the point of the letter. Has any one at CAI ever confronted these people about their aggressive Catholic bashing? Some catholics have called into defend the faith, but cannot do much regarding official doctrine, just sort of repeat what they have heard from someone else. Well they have a website, it is You can hear previous shows over the internet. It would be worth listening to there most recent broadcasts just to hear the insanity that happens on their national radio show on a daily basis! I'm just really hoping that maybe you or someone at CAI will challenge their ridiculous claims and maybe call into their show. They said that the other apologist, Marcelino, was too "Politically Correct" and "slick tongued". So I hope that something can be done about this disrespectful show.

God Bless,
Rene E

R. Sungenis: Rene, the only thing we can do with our limited time is respond to specific statements they make. If you send us a statement or two from them, we would be glad to comment. As for now, anyone who says that Saddam or the United States or anyone else is featured in the Apocalypse, they simply don't know what they are talking about.


Question 20CAI and the Defamation of another Catholic?

I just discovered your article on Catholic veils, as I've been considering wearing one myself though I know it's now an option in the Church and I also listen to ewtn and have found Mr. Donovan's advice very helpful in the past. I was shocked to think you would write an article to defame and accuse a fellow Christian publically. This is the article I am referring to:

"Should Women Wear Veils?" Colin Donoven of EWTN Responds:

Why would a fellow Catholic belittle another Catholic in a public manner like this? In Scripture, if we think someone has done something wrong we are to speak to them in private and then if that does not work, ask the Church to intervene or a parish priest. We are not asked to slam them publically and defame a person's reputation.

After seeing this type of behavior at your site, now I am highly skeptical of it's spiritual fruit and shall not trust it.

I just wanted to share my comments with you privately. Thank you.

Mrs. Stratton
"Jesus, I trust in You." - Divine Mercy Prayer

R. Sungenis: Mrs. Stratton, your above prescription only applies to a brother who has offeneded us personally. Mr. Donovan and I are in the intellectual arena discussing Church doctrine. There is no "defamation" of Mr. Donovan. Just constructive criticism for him to reevaluate his views.


Question 19Matrimony and "the exception clause"

I have to give a Catholic response on the so called "exception clause" in Matt 19:9 and Matt 5:32 that some Protestants use to justify grounds for divorce. I believe it is their misuse of the word 'porneia' in the text but I haven't found any good material on this. Help please. Thanks.

R. Sungenis: Davi, we have devoted 20 pages in our Catholic Apologetics Study Bible to the Matthean exception clause. I think you will find it invaluable. You can purchase it from us or from


Question 18Luminous Mysteries

Hi Robert. I would appreciate your comments on the luminous mysteries added to the rosary by Pope John Paul II. Many feel uncomfortable with them, because they have been added to the private revelation giving by our Blessed Mother to St. Dominic 800 years ago. People also raise the issue of the 153 fish. I am interested in your thoughts.

R. Sungenis: John, he was the pope and he can make such changes if he wishes. The Luminous Mysteries, in themselves, have nothing wrong with them, since they are all about the life of Christ. Another pope could add five more mysteries to the rosary if he wished. We have no control over such things. I will gladly submit to them.

But the Luminous Mysterties are the least of my concerns about John Paul II. His imposition on the traditional rosary pales into insignificance with his imposition on many other things we have treasured from tradition.


Question 17The Catholic Catechism

Thank you very much for the answers you've supplied me, both in email and on your website. Your time and talent are a blessing I treasure.

I have read several articles on your website against the ecumenical movement in the Church. I tend to agree with them all. You cite previous councils and documents to support your position, such as in one answer you gave about infant baptism you said, "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." With all this in mind, what does this say about the Catechism of the Catholic Church? I would say it's pretty excited about the idea of ecumenism. Assuming the Catechism is binding on Catholics, what am I supposed to say when someone asks if non-Catholics go to hell? Are Protestants separated-brethren, heretics, or both? What is Church teaching? Or am I not understanding the authority of the Catechism? Sometime I have a hard time distinguishing between what is authoritative, binding, and infallible and what is authoritative, binding, and fallible. The CCC was written by the Pope in union with the bishops, so doesn't that qualify as authoritative and binding if not infallible? And that being the case, it has to be an all or nothing thing, right? Part of it can't be good and part if it not-so-good.

Thank you again.
Happy Easter!

B. Douglass: Vince,
Robert has requested that I answer some of the Q & A e-mails since he is not able to keep up with demand. I hope I can be of service.

Yes, the Catechism is authoritative and binding, though this applies only to the official Latin, and not the English translation. As far as the salvation of Protestants, let me copy-paste the explanation I gave to another person who asked this question:

Baptism properly administered (in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, with flowing water and the intention to do as the Church does) washes one whiter than snow and incorporates one into the mystical body of Christ, which is one and the same thing with the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation. Most Protestant denominations do this. However, a baptized person who becomes culpable for heresy (denying Catholic dogma) or schism (refusing submission to the Roman Pontiff) is severed from the mystical body of Christ, and thus damned.

So, Protestants who die after baptism and before becoming culpable for one of these sins may be saved, though they would saved as Catholics, not as Protestants per se. If they commit no mortal sins, or if they are perfectly contrite, they in fact will be saved. Such would be the case with a baptized Protestant who died before reaching the age of reason, for example. Or again, an African who was evangelized by a Protestant missionary and was baptized, but who never learned anything about Christianity but what this missionary told him, might not be culpable for heresy or schism and thus could be saved. He might be a material heretic (one who does not believe everything the Catholic Church teaches, but is not morally responsible for this) but he would not be a formal heretic (one who is morally responsible for not believing everything the Catholic Church teaches).

Regarding how many Protestants are only material heretics and schismatics, and how many are formal, that is something only God can know for sure (excepting children under the age of reason, whom we know to be only material heretics). For the sake of evangelism, however, I believe we should presume them all to be in need of explicit conversion to the Catholic Church. Especially with regards to the well educated, the chances that they are not morally responsible for their beliefs are slim to none. Besides, even Protestants who are only material heretics are missing out on an abundance of sacramental grace, and thus are in more danger of falling into mortal sin than Catholics, and will not have available the easiest means of getting out (Confession). Not to mention they do not participate in the central act of worship instituted by Christ.

Happy Easter to you too. Christ is Risen! Christos Voskrese Iz Mertvych!


Question 16Friend not Catholic

Hello- My name is Elaina Maksimow. I have been dating a wonderful man for the past year and we do plan on getting married soon. He and I are both very devote Catholics. However, his parents are not. His mother was raised catholic, but is non-practicing. She has a lot of issues with the Church. His father is Baptist. For almost thirty years now his father has been recieving communion. My boyfriend finally told him that he should not be recieving the Eucharist. His mother's argument was that well he is a good person, and why should he not recieve? I need help! Could you please give me some more concrete insight that I can use when I speak with them. I have to go over there for Easter dinner and I know that this is going to come up. Thank you so much! God Bless! Elaina

B. Douglass:Elaina,

My advice would be to show your boyfriend's father what the Catholic Church teaches about Protestants recieving the Eucharist. After he sees that, he shouldn't want to take Communion in a Catholic Church. I for one would never want to participate in the most sacred ritual of an institution that taught that by participating in that ritual, I was comitting a sacrelige and bringing down the wrath of God on myself. Perhaps Mr. Sungenis can give you the appropriate references from canon law, councils, papal decrees, etc.


Question 15Fr. William Most

2 main questions:

1) What is your opinion of the theology of Father William Most? I have seen some of his writings on the EWTN web site, along with others. Is he conservative, or just another Father Raymond Brown?

B. Douglass: 2) When are you going to sort through all these Q&A's, and publish a set of books that is indexed by subject? I think there could be some value to doing that.

Fr. Most was sharply critical of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and defended the early date of composition of Daniel. He was no Fr. Brown. He was orthodox.

2) When are you going to sort through all these Q&A's, and publish a set of books that is indexed by subject? I think there could be some value to doing that.

B. Douglass: That's a good idea, though we are really overloaded here. Maybe we can start that project after CAI publishes the 3 books it's already working on.

Thanks for your work

Basil S

B. Douglass: You're welcome.


Question 14Punishment in the Old versus New Testament, Cardinal Ratzinger's Mass

Can you explain why there are so many events in the old testament that cause the death of someone being disobedient to God but in the church today there seems to be less drastic consequences. Examples of OT are the death of the man that touched the ark of the covenant, and the high priest having to be tied around the waist with rope on the day of yom kippur so he could be pulled out of the holy of hollies if he was killed, there's also the event where God tried to kill Moses for not circumcising his son. In the NT Paul does allude to the fact that some are sick and have died because of receiving the eucharist unworthily. Does this happen today in the church?

It seems with all the abuses going on regarding liturgy and false teachers that people should be being punished quite severely for this. Can you comment on why these heretics are not sick and dying (or are they?).

B. Douglass: Phil, Sometimes it is a mystery to me why God allows Himself to be recieved sacreligiously by so many (Kerry et al). Joan Carroll Cruz has written a book called Eucharistic Miracles (TAN Books) in which she documents cases where the host became hard as stone when someone in mortal sin attempted to recieve. So, God does miraculously intervene to protect His honor, in this age. As for why He does not do it more often, and execute more miraculous punishments, all I think we can say is He has His reasons. He said He would let the cockle and the wheat grow together until judgment day (Matt 13:24ff).

Also I'm only going from memory, but did you say sometime ago that Rome or someone at Rome, say Ratzinger, said the words of consecration are not required to perform the consecration at mass? If so, can you site the source where you found the quote.


B. Douglass: Read section 3, "The Anaphora of Addai and Mari", of this document:


Question 13Credited with Righteousness

In regards to being credited AS righteous and the Ben Douglas article: When did Abraham's faith of a man seeking God, become the theological virtue of faith granted by God?

B. Douglass: to my knowledge there is no official Catholic teaching on when Abraham was justified. In Genesis 12:7 he is said to build an altar to the Lord. Hence already by that time he was a priest of YHWH and must have been in a state of grace. He was most likely justified as soon as he heard the word of God and believed it.

James says that we are saved by works and not by faith alone. So, at the moment when Abraham received faith from God did he also receive works from God? To me, I think he received the virtue of those works--because this faith from God is called a theological virtue. But when does God need faith? I think it is when Jesus walked the Earth; he had and practiced faith. So then, by the merits of his passion and by the Spirit of Adoption into Christ, Abraham received the faith of God/Jesus from God/Spirit. But when did JESUS receive the virtue of faith formed by works from the Spirit of Adoption? Did he receive it, like Mary, at the moment of his conception, or did he receive it during his baptism? Did Adam and Eve receive the faith of Jesus from the Spirit of Adoption?

B. Douglass: Abraham would have been infused with faith, hope, and charity at the moment of his justification. After being justified, he would have begun performing supernaturally meritorious works by the grace of God, which would increase his justice/sanctity, and thus would "justify" him further. But he would not have recieved the merit of works until he performed them.

Christ posseses the fullness of the knowledge of the Godhead, and it was not otherwise at any point of His Incarnation. Hence, He never possesed the supernatural virtue of faith. Like the blessed in heaven, He possesed only charity. See Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma for a full treatment of this issue. Adam and Eve recieved all their supernatural virtues and pretenatural gifts from the grace of God.

What this is all about is this: The words, "credited AS righteousness," in Romans Chapter 4--do they refer to the theological virtue of faith, practiced, "worked," by Jesus Christ when he walked this earth?


B. Douglass: Certainly the Father credited Christ's good works to His account as righteousness. But all of Christ's works proceed from charity, not from faith.


Question 12PBC on the JEPD

I've just discovered you site and thank God for you!!
As a newcomer to formal Bibs. study, whose lecturer (NZ Seminary) endorses all you critise re. Wellhausen, I'd be grateful if you could give me any leads to obtaining current PBC statements about JEPD. I'm hoping to start M'Theol next year but just need Bibs. to complete B'Theol.

As a mature wife & mother - ex-Social worker & Ethics post-grad- I knew from start Wellhausen was v. suspect & going thru' Purgatory for daring to argue against him (in my best prof. manner!).

I'd be v. grateful for any advise - downloaded current papers of yours I could find which are being distributed about Sem.
Have to make a donation soon!!
God bless you and the work
Diane T

B. Douglass: You probably will not find any current PBC statements which will help your case against the documentary hypothesis. Ever since Paul VI took away the Magisterial authority with which St. Pius X invested it, the PBC has been issuing documents which endorse moderate to liberal positions on biblical issues. Most if not all of its current members probably believe in Wellhausen's theory. If you want to learn the opinion of today's Roman Curia on JED&P, you need only read Evangelium Vitae, n. 35: "The Yahwist account of creation..." You are going to have to base your case on older decrees, and the text of the Pentateuch itself. CAI will soon publish a book which will address this issue, among others. I hope it will be of help.


Question 11Catholics for a Free Choice

I have a liberal Catholic friend (supporter of Catholics
for a Free Choice, the whole deal), and I am stymied as to how to approach the situation. How can the case be made that as a Catholic, one must believe everything that the Catholic Church teaches?

B. Douglas: Dear Sir,
I hope I can be of help. First off, you can quote official Church documents and canon law, where they define heresy and schism, and discuss worthiness for the reception of Communion. Then, make it clear to this person the absurdity of what he/she is doing. The Catholic Church teaches that when your friend recieves Communion, he is eating and drinking judgment on himself, that what he does is repugnant to God, and that every time he recieves he digs himself deeper and deeper into hell. Now, it is patently absurd to insist that one is a member of an institution which teaches such a thing about oneself. I for one would never want to belong to an institution that taught such a thing about me! Much less would I want to participate in its most sacred ritual. It's simply a matter of common decency.

Also, some of the mystics give some extremely explicit descriptions of hell. The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Sienna (available from TAN) is a good example of this. Perhaps your friend could benefit from learning about "the four principal torments of the damned."

Also, I am contemplating a full-time ministry in Apologetics at some point, but I'm not clear on its workings. What do you do each day? How do you make money?

B. Douglass: Money comes from donations, book and tape sales, published magazine articles, and honoraria for debates and speaking engagements. An apologist would spend most of his day writing books/articles, recording tapes, delivering lectures, preparing for debates, etc.

Deus benedicat.

P.S. I recommend to the "Links" section of your
website- it has the best search features, and more versions than any online Bible I've ever seen.

B. Douglass: Thanks for the suggestion. Mir ti (peace be with you, Old Slavonic).


Question 10The best Douay?

which Douay is the best? What do you make of the Douay-Rheims Bible of Baronius Press, they tout it as the best Douay available, do you agree with this?

B. Douglass: Tim,
In terms of content, the best Douay-Rheims Bible is undoubtedly the Haydock Edition which is available from Catholic Treasures. The commentary is very extensive and quotes the Church Fathers prolifically. It also has many beautiful illustrations and a Catholic Bible dictionary. Unfortunately, however, it is a photographic reproduction, so in places the text is a bit marred. The new, digitally typeset edition of the Douay Rheims printed by Baronius Press will not have nearly as extensive a commentary as the Haydock, but will be much prettier. So, it depends what you are looking for. If you want a serious study Bible, get the Haydock; if you want a family Bible for devotional reading, get the Baronius Press edition.


Question 9Protestant "Salvation" and "Miracles"

Dear CAI head/staff member, Thanks in advance for your time! As a recent convert to Catholicism, I currently have 2 Q's redarding Protestants, the answers to which I would like to use towards future evangelization of Prots in the future. Again, pls pardon my ignorance. 1. Salvation - Is there any salvation for Prots outside of fully 'coming home' to the Church (automatic Purgatory, etc.)? 2. "Miracles" - How does the Church views Protestant "miracles" (apparent evidence of God working in their lives, from the "mundane" [praying for a parking space and getting it, etc.] to the "awesome" [a stubborn world-loving family member coming to the "faith" after much prayer]). Are all of these to be seen as mass delusions? Guy

B. Douglass: Baptism properly administered (in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, with flowing water and the intention to do as the Church does) washes one whiter than snow and incorporates one into the mystical body of Christ, which is one and the same thing with the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation. Most Protestant denominations do this. However, a baptized person who becomes culpable for heresy (denying Catholic dogma) or schism (refusing submission to the Roman Pontiff) is severed from the mystical body of Christ, and thus damned.
So, Protestants who die after baptism and before becoming culpable for one of these sins may be saved, though they would saved as Catholics, not as Protestants per se. If they commit no mortal sins, or if they are perfectly contrite, they in fact will be saved. Such would be the case with a baptized Protestant who died before reaching the age of reason, for example. Or again, an African who was evangelized by a Protestant missionary and was baptized, but who never learned anything about Christianity but what this missionary told him, might not be culpable for heresy or schism and thus could be saved. He might be a material heretic (one who does not believe everything the Catholic Church teaches, but is not morally responsible for this) but he would not be a formal heretic (one who is morally responsible for not believing everything the Catholic Church teaches).

Regarding how many Protestants are only material heretics and schismatics, and how many are formal, that is something only God can know for sure (excepting children under the age of reason, whom we know to be only material heretics). For the sake of evangelism, however, I believe we should presume them all to be in need of explicit conversion to the Catholic Church. Especially with regards to the well educated, the chances that they are not morally responsible for their beliefs are slim to none. Besides, even Protestants who are only material heretics are missing out on an abundance of sacramental grace, and thus are in more danger of falling into mortal sin than Catholics, and will not have available the easiest means of getting out (Confession). Not to mention they do not participate in the central act of worship instituted by Christ.

As to your second question, while the Catholic Church has dogmatized the maxim "outside the Church there is no salvation" she has anathematized the Jansenist slogan "outside the Church there is no grace." God can work good things in the lives of Protestants and hear and answer Protestant prayers. Under the operation of actual grace even Protestants who have been severed from the tree of life (Romans 11:22) can posses the rudiments of faith, hope, and charity and perform supernaturally good works. According to Fr. Gabriele Amorth, cheif exorcist of the diocese of Rome, they can even cast out demons.


Question 8Help! I'm confused about the Church

I am so confused what direction to be leading my family. We are totally disappointed and disheartened with the current state of the Catholic Church. As stated on this site, It is almost totally corrupted. My question is, What are we to do?? How do we continue attending a Church like this? There is a lot of info and opinions, but not many answers. We've reverted to attending an Evangelical Christian church. Please help!

B. Douglass: Dear Sir,
Mr. Sungenis has requested that I answer some of the Q & A e-mails since he is not able to keep up with the demand. I'll answer your question to the best of my ability.

St. Peter denied Chirst three times and compromised the gospel in order to placate Jews. St. Thomas refused to believe in the Resurrection. Sinners in the Church is nothing new. Christ's Church contians both cockle and wheat and they won't be separated until the harvest. And no matter how disheartening it might be when the cockle produces scandal after scandal, it is imperative that you stick with her with an indefatigable zeal.

Pope Leo XIII saw a vision of demons descending on Rome. The spiritual battle described in Ephesians 6 is very real and it is being fought within the Catholic Church today. Yes, the devil will win battles, and he has been winning an appalling number of late. But he has not and will not win the war as promised by Christ in Matthew 16:18. We must hold fast to the Traditions we have recieved and not turn aside to the right or to the left no matter how many Catholic priests and prelates commit the same sins as Ss. Peter and Thomas, mentioned above.

As far as practical advice, there are plenty of oases of Catholic Orthodoxy in America, and while you may have to drive a bit extra every Sunday, it is well worth it to attend one. If you can find a Latin Mass parish, it is almost sure to be orthodox. Here is a directory:

Eastern Rite Parishes may have holy and orthodox priests or they may have liberals or perverts (we actually had a proportionately higher number of pervert preists exposed in the recent scandal than the Roman Rite), so if you consider this route you will have to do some investigation. But the liturgy is beautiful. I would recommend that you write the parish preist and ask him what he teaches about a few issues that I would consider indicators of one's orthodoxy all around, viz. Biblical inerrancy, contraception, and sodomy. If he responds with something like "the Bible has God for it's Author, therefore it cannot err; contraception is an insult to the Author of life; sodomy cries to heaven" you have a keeper. Here is a directorry: Also, my priest has told me some horror stories about how the Eucharist is treated in some Eastern Rite parishes, so you should make sure the priest washes the ciborium and consumes the contents after every liturgy. Finally, if you can find a good, faithful Novus Ordo Parish that is fine too. I would recommend asking the priest the same type of questions as above.

But please, reverting to a Protestant church is absolutely not the right thing to do. First, even conservative Protestant churches approve of contraception, divorce, and remarriage. They don't just have sinful members; they officially sanction sin. Second, they teach an unbiblical, substitute gospel which is offensive to the justice of God. Third, they have no historical continuity with the apostles. Finally, they do not practise the central act of worship of the New Covenant, instituted by Christ as prophesied in Malachi 1:11. There is no clean oblation offered for the glory of God in a Protestant church. We have that in Catholicism, and that is something one should never abandon.


Question 7Proof about geocentrism and God

What I try to say is that one thing is "faith" some people believe in Gods with the Elephant head, some people believe in gods with wings and sacrifice beautiful virgin girls, and some people believe in El, Elohim, Yahwe, Zeus and all the parade of mediterranean gods. And a different thing is science, which try to find a model to explain the universe around us and through that model predict what will happen. What you wrote in that page is right in many senses, I work in the medicine field and most of the studies I do, or read about in scientific publications are not even repeatable. People put their faith in science, but nobody asked them to do so. Science is not something you need faith. Science is something you can test, if it works is ok, doesn't throw it away and work to the next model. Religion is something you must have faith, since the "literal" interpretation is meaningless, because how to give a literal interpretation of something which is "translated"?

Since the O.T. like the N.T. were not in modern English or other modern languages. So you have many versions of something which should only be one.

So I don't understand why someone translate the name Elohim or Yahwe when being names of different Gods, should not be translated under a single name, since if there were two names in the original text shows that there was a meaning behind. But of course it would not be "commercial" to have the sacred scriptures in a language nobody of the believers can understand, and of course more difficult would be to understand who are they calling "father", since with many names one can get confused. :-)

Best regards


R. Sungenis: John, I'm not quite sure what your question is, since you seem to be delving into a number of areas. I think most of your concern centers around language and exegesis, so I'll answer from that perspective.
First, we can more or less minimize the problem created with different translations by limiting our study to the original language of Scripture. These original languages were inspired by God, so they are completely accurate. If I didn't believe they were inspired, I wouldn't waste my time reading them. As such, the Hebrew word you see translated as "light" in Genesis 1:14 is OR. But it has a few shades of meaning. It is not only "light" (as in the generation of photons) but can also be a "luminary," and as such, can include a body that reflects light.

As for "repeatable" etc proof for God creating man, this falls into a different category. The heliocentric-geocentric debate already assumes that the planets and sun exist, because we can see them. But since we can't see God, then our "proofs" must be of a different nature. In this realm we have such metaphysical proofs such as the Teleological argument, the Ontological argument, and so forth. We can use our reason, God says (Romans 1:18-20) to know that He must exist. But ultimately, our conviction of the existence of God must rest on faith, but this doesn't surprise us, because it is precisely what the God of Scripture requires from us in order to know Him (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the essential beginning point, since without faith, nothing else God says would you follow. Faith means you have a personal trust, a ground-zero upon which you base everything else. Once you accept God by faith, then you accept all the other revelation He has given to us.


Question 6Jerusalem and the End Times

In Luke xxi, 23-24 we read that “the time of nations shall be fulfilled” once the Gentiles no longer trodden Jerusalem, that is, when the Jews retake Jerusalem. That has happened. Does this indicate we are in the end times, or does the temple have to be rebuilt. If the temple has to be rebuilt, what are the verses for that.

James D

R. Sungenis: James, according to Luke 21:24-25, the next event after the "times of the Gentiles" is the return of Christ. There is no interlude to speak of. In other words, when the Genitle period is fulfilled, we are at the end of time. So, if there is a Temple to be built in Jerusalem, it will be under the auspices of a Gentile/Jewish alliance, and it will be demonic in origin (2 Thess 2:3-11).


Question 5Great White Throne and Judgment Seat

Dear Dr. Sungenis:

I recently finished reading your outstanding work, "Not by Faith Alone." Thank you for the service you have provided to the whole world in explaining so clearly and thoroughly the true doctrine of salvation.

I realize that you could not address every Protestant error about salvation in your book, but I was a little surprised that you did not address those who insist there is a distinction between the "Great White Throne" and the "Judgment Seat of God," insisting that these are two separate things, with only one (I forget which one) applying to believers. Perhaps I have just been fortunate enough to be exposed to a number of these evangelicals who obsess about this particular issue, but it seems to me to be a fairly common error.

Would you take a few minutes to address the nature of this error, and how the Catholic Church understands the concepts?
Thank you,

Greg W

R. Sungenis: Greg, I touch upon it a little in Chapter 8 of Not By Faith Alone, where I mention the "bema" seat judgment and from which Protestants think they will receive their own personal reward. But to flesh it out a little, most Evangelical Protestants believe that the Great White Throne Judgment occurs after a 1000 year millennial reign of Christ on earth. It judges all of unsaved mankind. The saved are spared this judgment (based on their reading of John 5:24) but must face the "bema seat" judgment or what is also called "the Judgment Seat of Christ," from their reading of 2 Cor 5:10. This judgment is said not to be for sin, but only to determine one's personal reward. Those who are worthy will receive various crowns (e.g., James 1:12). Those not worthy will receive no crowns but will not be judged for their bad deeds.

All of this, of course, is erroneous. There is no difference between the Great White Throne Judgment (Apocalypse 20:11-15) and the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10). They are one in the same judgment, and they are for all of mankind. The saved, having already been judged at their Particular Judgment, however, will not return for judgment. They will actually help in the judging process (1 Cor 6:1-2). The unsaved dead will be formally arraigned and sent again to hell with their resurrected bodies, whatever those bodies will be. The rest of mankind that is raptured on the last day will face the Final Judgment (the Greath White Throne or Judgment Seat of Christ) and will be sent to their respective destinations (John 5:28-29; John 12:48; John 6:39-40).


Question 4Creation and fall

The Cathechism teaches, and I think this is in line with tradition, that before the Fall Adam and Eve were immortal. That means they couldn't fall off a cliff and be killed, or hit their head on a rock and die, and so on.

That means that before the fall not only were Adam and Eve different but the laws of physics were different.

Is there anything in church teaching or your thinking that deals with this issue?

Thanks in advance.

John R

R. Sungenis: John, I'm almost certain there is but I don't remember offhand where. At any rate, the laws of physics would be the same (e.g., water assumes the shape of its container and seeks the lowest point, in accord with Day 2). Adam and Eve, however, would have been protected supernaturally from hurting themselves, just as it is said of Jesus in Matthew 4:6: "...for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,' and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" God and Adam were meant to have intimate communion, God tending to every one of Adam's needs. When sin disrupts that communion, God withdraws to a certain extent and we are left to the wiles of the elements


Question 3Robert Sungenis... you're a modernist!

In the Question and Answer part of the site I noticed that you said that salvation is possible for someone who is invincible ignorant which is flat out false and heretical. If you are going to say such things than don't call yourself Roman Catholic because I assure you you are not. The chuch clearly teaches there is no salvation outside the Catholic church without exception. Go to this link and learn about what the church really teaches and stop calling yourself a Traditional Catholic because you are a modernist.

R. Sungenis: Kirsanow, I'm really get tired of such Pharisaical attitudes. Why don't you do us all a favor and let God decide whom he wants to save, not you. Otherwise you may find yourself on the outside looking in (Mt 23:13). Of course the Church teaches that outside the Church there is no salvation. But the Church also teaches invincible ignorance, unless, of course, by your own authority, you've decided to eliminate the pontificate of Pius IX from the teaching of the Church.


Question 2- Protestant Minister seeks truth about the Church

Dear sir, I am very much drawn to the sacerdotal idea of the Church. As a Reformed Protestant, I was taught that a sacerdotal view was wrong! Also, I am really seeing the true historic Church from both the Word of God and Tradition. My problems with Roman Catholicism are:

1. Papacy
2. Mary
3. Purgatory

As I am sure these things can be answered, I wrote to you for some help. I have a friend who went into the Eastern Orthodox Church. He would tell me that they are the true Historic Apostolic Church and that Rome is schismatic. How would you answer that?

Thank you for your help and time.
Rev. Tim

R. Sungenis: Tim, the answer to that is very simple. There can only be one true Church, and that Church must have been in existence since the time of the Apostles, and all its authority and doctrines must also continue. There is only one Church which can satisfy all those criteria, the Catholic Church. It can trace its pedigree to Rome by means of the papacy. St. Augustine, for example, states in his Letter to Generosus that after Peter was Linus, after Linus was Clement, after Clement was Anacletus, and so on. If there are two different Churches with two sets of doctrines on the Papacy, Mary and Purgatory, common sense tells you that only one Church can be right, and only one has the authority to decide the nature of the true doctrine. All others are imposters, to one degree or another.

Regarding the Papacy, Mary and Purgatory, I would suggest you obtain our books on these subjects. In my book Not By Faith Alone I have a whole chapter on Purgatory (exegetical style). Also, the book Jesus, Peter and the Keys that we carry (and to which I heavily contributed) will help you with the papacy. We don't have any books on Mary yet, but we have an assortment of papers I think will interest you.


Question 1Tattoos, II

Mr. Sungenis,
You said in a previous QA:

"Question 39- What Scripture Passage Disallows Tatoos?
My son would like to know - where in the bible does it say you are not supposed to tattoo yourself?

Also, he would like to know - what or where was he before he was born. Does it say anything like that in the bible?

Thank you.

R. Sungenis: The scripture reference is Leviticus 19:28: "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD." (RSV)."

Does this verse (an OT law) still apply in New Testament times? And how can this be demonstrated?
Thank you.

R. Sungenis: Louis, Leviticus 19:28, like all Mosaic laws, does not apply in the legal sense to us, but it does apply in the moral and practical sense, as do all Mosaic laws. For example, when teaching the Corithians their responsibility to provide for St. Paul's physical and financial needs, St. Paul quotes from an OT Mosaic law. He states in 1 Cor 9:7-11:

7 Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
8 Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned?
10 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop.
11 If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?

This shows us that, in principle, the Mosaic laws still have the force of their moral and ethical dimensions.