September 2005

Q & A September 2005

Question 88 - Theology and politics

Question 87 - RE: Allah, a false god?

Question 86 - CASB

Question 85 - Stop the Consiparcy Garbage

Question 84 - Roman Catholicism vrs the Orthodox

Question 83 - Dear Robert...

Question 82 - John Paul II and the Old Covenant

Question 81 - Allah, a false god?

Question 80 - The Review of Schoeman's book: Salvation is from the Jews

Question 79 - Darwin Leads to Hell

Question 78 - Original sin and unbaptized babies

Question 77 - 6/30/05 Remnant article on Christian Zionism

Question 76 - Foucault Pendulum

Question 75 - VIRTUS & The Culture of Death

Question 74 - Cardinal McCarrick's Prayer to Allah

Question 73 - Eastern Orthodox vrs. Roman Catholicism re Confession

Question 72 - Exorcism of Emily Rose Catholic?

Question 71 - What will Purgatory be like?

Question 70 - Do you have your materials on CD?

Question 69 - Catholic Apologetics International

Question 68 - I reject your interpertation of Isaiah 53 and 1Peter 2:24

Question 67 - UFO's

Question 66 - The Exorcism of Emily Rose: A movie to see

Question 65 - Is the Catholic Church the True Church?

Question 64 - The Teaching Company and the Bible

Question 63 - Your Answer on Aliens and UFOs, 3

Question 62 - Your Answer on Aliens and UFOs, 2

Question 61 - Your Answer on Aliens and UFOs

Question 60 - Confession Rebuttal

Question 59 - The Dimond Brothers

Question 58 - Dr. Zugibe

Question 57 - Which is more powerful angels or saints?

Question 56 - Sunday Obligation

Question 55 - Ghosts, Near-Death Experiences, UFOs and Dinosaurs

Question 54 - Dual Prophecies in Scripture

Question 53 - 1 Thess 4:17

Question 52 - Announcement of the coming of the false Messiah

Question 51 - Re: Confession

Question 50 - Bravo!

Question 49 - Genesis flood: Local or Global?

Question 48 - Anne Catherine again

Question 47 - Relationships/Friendships with Protestants

Question 46 - The Perfect tense in John 20:23 regarding Confession

Question 45 - Christ dying of old age

Question 44 - Apostolic Succession and Confession -- Earliest References

Question 43 - Question about Sedevacanists

Question 42 - Scapulars

Question 41 - Can we be cremated?

Question 40 - Struggling Catholic with questions....

Question 39 - Inherited Guilt

Question 38 - Seminars

Question 37 - Servile work and the Lord's Day

Question 36 - Anne Catherine Emmerich's vision of the vacant sees

Question 35 - Not By Love Alone

Question 34 - Atonement

Question 33 - Evolution

Question 32 - Wages of sin

Question 31 - Important Question about the Timing of Baptism

Question 30 - VeggieTales?

Question 29 - God cannot do evil to destroy evil?

Question 28 - Matatics

Question 27 - Geocentricity

Question 26 - Critical remarks

Question 25 - Does Vatican II contradict Tradition?

Question 24 - Chicago college--Opus Dei

Question 23 - Question on 'faith alone' for justification

Question 22 - Question 14- Baptism of Desire?

Question 21 - Original sin and unbaptized babies

Question 20 - Phil Vaz's Selective Evolutionary Evidence

Question 19 - Original Sin

Question 18 - Ken Miller has 80 intermediate fossils to give you

Question 17 - What does "knowing good and evil" mean?

Question 16 - Robert Sungenis Pt. 2

Question 15 - Robert Sungenis

Question 14 - NFP

Question 13 - Question 14- Baptism of Desire?

Question 12 - A reaction to your article on Raymond Brown

Question 11 - Reply to you

Question 10 - Question on Leonardo da Vinci

Question 9 - Regarding Matthew 16:18

Question 8 - Romans 1:17

Question 7 - Question 14- Baptism of Desire?

Question 6 - Debate with Gerry Matatics

Question 5 - A single drop of blood shed

Question 4 - About Raymond E. Brown

Question 3 - "Dr". White

Question 2 - The Geocentric Challenge

Question 1 - Isaiah 46:11 and a Catholic Debate against Iglesia ni Cristo (INC)


Question 88Theology and politics

I was not trying to be judgmental, or even imply that I disagree with your opinions (why did you put that word in quotes? Are you implying that your political pieces are purely factual?). I simply meant to point out that there is a distinction between what we can know with certainty about theology on the one hand, and what we can know with certainty from reports we receive about politics and history from uninspired, fallible, subjective sources on the other.e other (I am not referring to science here at all- I know nothing about science).

I give you my opinion as a person who has benefited from your work (I read and was persuaded by Not by Faith Alone for example), and a person who knows people who could also potentially benefit from your work: the “constituents” that I am referring to are just friends and family. I would not like to get into specifics, and it seems from the number of hits that you get, that you are doing just fine without my help!

Pax,
John

R. Sungenis: John, thanks for the clarification. I would say this: if we expunged our political views based on the pressure that some of our constituents would otherwise be turned off, I don't think that would say much for us as an organization. CAI has grown past the "apologetics" arena of life. (In fact, we have found that much of "apologetics" is political, sorry to say). Case in point is Roy Schoeman's book, "Salvation is from the Jews." The Zionism by exegesis that Schoeman advances (and how utterly wrong it is), is something we need to address on both an apologetic level (with counter-exegesis) and a political level (by showing the pure Zionism of his approach). That, of course, leads to forcing us to investigate all the details of Zionism, and at that point we feel it is quite necessary to share that information with our constituents. Most don't seem to mind at all. In fact, they applaud it, since we report it like few do. If your objection, as you say, is based on "certainty," well, that applies to the CBS evening news as well. Would you tell them to stop reporting because political views are "uncertain"? So the politics and science are here to stay at CAI. For those who don't like it, well, they are simply must take the thorns with the roses, as I see it. I hope that helps explain our mission better to you.

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Question 87RE: Allah, a false god?

I don't agree with McCarrick just to make things clear. He didn't go all the way and follow Paul's example. I'm certainly no fan of his. However I do find a problematic aspect in your explanation. You said he is false "since there is no god named Allah." I'm not sure how this follows since Allah is just the name for God in Arabic. Christians in the Middle East use the same name for God. It is Deus in Latin and God in English. I would bet a house and more that you know this so I'm confused why you said it. The question of course is whether what they call "God", regardless of in what language, is true or not. And as far as that goes I think what you said was quite good. The do worship the true God (although not how he wants to be worshipped) on a purely natural level and we can grant them that.

R. Sungenis: There are many occasions in which a noun easily becomes a proper noun, and "Allah" is just such a case, especially when it is used in the context of, for example, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet." This is a clear attempt to assign a personal name to the Muslim god and to replace the Christian God.

Something else for you too think about though is should we say that their "God" "in the final analysis" as you put is false or just that they have false notions about the true God? I have to favour the latter because otherwise we are stuck in both affirming and denying that he is true.

R. Sungenis: I think both are true. Our overlap with the Muslims, insofar as our notions of God, are not that large or numerous. Our only common ground is monotheism, which is at least a starting point, but it is certainly not strong enough to side with the second of your proposals over the first.

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Question 86CASB

When will the 2nd volume of the CASB be available? Volume one was fantastic and I have been dying to read the rest of them. They way things are going in the world (it looks like we don't have much time) shouldn't you reconsider and put 2 volumes out per year?

Thanks for your devotion and work.

R. Sungenis: I'm working as fast as I can. We should be able to get the second volume out at the end of this year. All we can manage right now is one volume at a time.

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Question 85Stop the Consiparcy Garbage

Robert,

I have just perused the news portion of your website and have come across two articles espousing the theory that a levee in New Orleans was sabotaged by mysterious Federal Government forces in order to rid the city of black people. This is idiotic. Besides the logistical nightmare it would be to plan such an undertaking in the midst of a huge hurricane like Katrina, it would be far to easy for state forensic teams to prove that a levee was "dynamited" as opposed to being breached by a flood. It is the kind of nutty story spread by Louis Farrakhan and his followers. This is the same man who claims that he was taken up into the mother ship - a large wheel that orbits the earth. It would be wise of you to research the articles you publish on your website and make sure you have facts to back up the news. It would be a shame if you lost readers and donors who benefit from you excellent apologetics work (unsurpassed by any other Catholic apologist, in my opinion) because of goofy articles like the levee stories published on your news page.

Sincerely,
Dan Esquivel

R. Sungenis: Dan, our CAI News is based on news in the media. Often, we don't take a position on the news articles. The positions we espouse at CAI are in our Features section.

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Question 84Roman Catholicism vrs the Orthodox

Mr. Sungenis, your basic fallacy is that you consistantly appeal to RCC "father's" as your source of authority. By doing so you are begging the question. You quote what you think were Roman Catholics to prove Roman Catholicism. You assume beforehand the validity of your theological constellation.

R. Sungenis: I do no such thing. Read the Fathers and you will find out that they refer to the Catholic Church; headed by the reigning pope with his bishops. There was no other Church. The Eastern bishops also gave their allegiance to the Roman pope. I have the documentation to prove it. As I said before, if you can find a consensus of Eastern bishops prior to 1054 who did not give their allegiance to the Roman pontiff, then you have something. Until then all you have is your opinion. As far as I can see this discussion is over, unless you provide the evidence.

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Question 83Dear Robert...

You're wonderful and you know it. ;) You are providing a much needed service through your Q&A, and it has been a huge blessing for seekers, converts and cradles alike. But I have a suggestion; There are so many questions about those hard-to-understand Scriptures that all of us have, and it would be wonderful if you could take some unpublished Q's regarding these and compile them in a new book for us.

I hope you consider this -- it would sell like hotcakes, I'm sure!

Thanks again, and may the Lord continue to bless you and your ministry,

Dani

R. Sungenis: Dani, I wish I had the time. Perhaps someday I can turn my attention to that, but for now I have to put it on the shelf. I have to publish three other books by the end of this year. Please pray for me.

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Question 82John Paul II and the Old Covenant

Bob,

When in Mainz JPII referred to "the people of God of the Old Covenant that has never been revoked," which covenant was he referring to? And why is this not "heresy" if he meant to suggest the Mosaic Law?

Chris

R. Sungenis: Chris, it would be "heresy" if the pope meant that the Old Covenant was the Mosaic Law, but I don't think we can pin it down that precisely. Since there is some ambiguity in its and his meaning, we can probably only point to it as one of the "problematic" statements in John Paul II's repertoire.

The ambiguity arises in the fact that "Old Covenant" has taken on a number of meanings in various quaters. For example, the Catholic Catechism (I don't have the paragraph number because I don't have my catechism with me -- I'm on vacation this week at the shore), I believe in paragraph 147 or thereabouts, uses the term "Old Covenant" as referring to the Old Testament Scriptures, and it is in that paragraph that the Catechism says "The Old Covenant has not been revoked." In the sense that the Old Covenant can be understood as the Old Testament Scriptures, the Catechism cannot be faulted, although its use of "Old Covenant" in this light is highly unusual.

On the other hand, Cardinals Kasper and Keeler have used "Old Covenant" in the sense of the religion of Judaism, as Keeler expressly revealed in his "Reflections on Covenant and Missions" document of 2002, and Kasper in his speech to the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee in New York on May 1, 2001.

Technically and exegetically speaking, the "Old Covenant" refers only to the Mosaic Law, as St. Paul defined it in 2 Cor 3:6-14, especially in verse 14 where the phrase "Old Covenant" is used only in reference to the Mosaic Law, which in verse 7 is called a "ministry of death" because the primary purpose of the Mosaic Law was to condemn men in sin (and "old covenant" appears only here in the New Testament. Other passages just refer to "covenant," e.g., Hebrew 8:7, 13; 7:18; 10:9).

The potential problem with John Paul II's Mainz statement is that he, in other venues, seemed to tie it to the statement of St. Paul in Romans 11:27-29:

27 "And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins."
28 As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors;
29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Here we see the word "covenant" in verse 27 coupled with the clause "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" in verse 29.

From this, some have made the claim that the "covenant" of verse 27 is the "Old Covenant" and it is that covenant that is "irrevocable."

Nostra Aetate 4, however, does not say such. It correctly states that it is only the "gifts and calling of God" that are "irrevocable." It mentions nothing about the Old Covenant containing these "gifts and calling," or that the Old Covenant is "irrevocable." What is "irrevocable" is God's call of salvation to the Jew, and that now comes under the New Covenant.

Hence, the correct way to see the passage is to understand that the "covenant" of Romans 11:27 is the New Covenant (which is confirmed by Hebrews 10:16-18), and it is in that covenant that the "gifts and calling of God" to the Jew are found to be "irrevocable." We know this because the New Testament is adamant that the whole Old Covenant has been abolished and replaced by the New Covenant (Hebrews 7:18; 8:7, 13; 10:9).

John Paul II had, more or less, implied this to be the case when he endorsed the same fact in several encyclicals, that is, it is only the New Covenant that is "eternal" and "irrevocable" (Mulieris Dignitatem, 5, 11; Redemptoris Custos, 9; 11; 32; Dominicae Cenae, 9; The Church and Racism, 3, 20; Evangelium Vitae, 25). He had never stated in anything written, whether official or unofficial, either that the "Old Covenant" referred only to the Mosaic Law, or that the Old Covenant, as representing the Mosaic Law, had never been revoked.

At worst, in Mainz John Paul II was confusing the perpetuity of the Abrahamic Covenant with the Old Covenant, as opposed to the correct way which sees the Abrahamic Covenant as transitioning into the New Covenant (which is why St. Paul can use Abraham as an example of someone who is justified under the auspices of the New Covenant's grace which extends into the Old Covenant, e.g., Galatians 3:6-8; Romans 4:1-12, since Abraham was justified initially while he was "uncircumcised" and thus not a Jew under the Old Covenant).

So, in Mainz, it would be hard to accuse John Paul II of endorsing the idea that the Mosaic Law was still in legal force, since any canonical lawyer would just point to the above encyclicals to show that John Paul did not hold to such an idea. Moreover, the speech in Mainz was made early in his career, and it was a speech, not an official document of the Church.

The problem created by John Paul's ambiguity, however, is that the liberal faction of his cardinalate has run with this to the point of absurdity and outright error, as we see in the writings of Kasper, Keeler, Willibrands, et al., and, as usual, without any discipline from John Paul II, which, by his own admission, he failed to maintain in the Church.

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Question 81Allah, a false god?

Dear Robert,

I have to keep you honest here. I'm speaking of Drolesky's article you have posted. Many times he states that Allah is a false god. Many times you have defended Vatican II's statement otherwise. Seeing no disclaimer was added you obviously agree with Drolesky. But then you have a contradiction. My question is which is it? How do you resolve the inconsistency?

Speaking of Drolesky I think you need to be judicious with what he writes. For instance he holds that not only is the Novus Ordo an inferior rite to the Tridentine in which to celebrate Mass (a fair enough view I will grant him) but that it is offensive to God!

What do you think of this and how to you put youself out of the contradiction you have (perhaps unwittingly by mistake) put yourself in? I wonder if othere people will not be thinking the same thing.

Matthew

R. Sungenis: Matthew, first, if I had to agree with every single point of an outside author, I would never be able to put up outside articles. As for Drolesky, I do try to be judicious with him. In fact, in one Q&A I stated that Drolesky often goes to the extreme in his views.

As for Allah, in the final analysis, he is a false god, since there is no god named Allah, except as a figment of the Muslums' imagination. We as Catholics accommodate their ignorance only insofar as they believe there is one God. We tolerate monotheistic religions much more than we tolerate polytheistic religions. In the same way, St. Paul tolerated the "unknown god" of the Athenians in Acts 17, but he then told them the real name of this "unknown" deity, Jesus Christ. That is what McCarrick should have done, but since he didn't, then Drolesky has the right to condemn it.

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Question 80The Review of Schoeman's book: Salvation is from the Jews

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

Laudetur Iesus Christus! This is a brief message to thank you for your review of Salvation is of the Jews in Latin Mass Magazine. In contrast with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand's disturbing review, I read your contribution with great excitement and agreement. Thank you for setting the record straight.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Brother Andre Marie, M.I.C.M.
Saint Benedict Center

R. Sungenis: Brother Andre Marie, thank you for the commendation! You may be interested in a more detailed article I did for Culture Wars, which will be published this year, on Schoeman's book. Latin Mass only allowed me 1800 words, but the article for Culture Wars is probably around 7000 words. There I show that Schoeman is a thoroughgoing Zionist, and is attempting to use Catholicism and Scripture to turn the public to his viewpoint, but he badly distorts both.

I'm attaching the final draft of the article for your perusal. I think it should be out in Culture Wars in October or November.

God be with you.

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Question 79Darwin Leads to Hell

I recently visited my sister near Ann Arbor, Michigan and we decided to go to Hell; the nearby town of Hell, Michigan, that is. What was most interesting to me was that the road to Hell was Darwin Road. That just confirms what we’ve known all along, Darwin leads to Hell!

God bless you,

Eric

R. Sungenis: Wonderful find, Eric! You ought to publish that far and wide.

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Question 78Original sin and unbaptized babies

Robert,

Regarding unbaptized babies and original sin (Question 21), you made the statement that the Church has said nothing dogmatic. The Council of Trent’s decrees on Original Sin and Justification sound awfully dogmatic to me (Denzinger 787 ff.)

Denzinger 791 says: “If anyone denies that infants … are to be baptized … for the attainment of life everlasting … let him be anathema.” I don’t see any way around that.

Eric Bermingham

R. Sungenis: Eric, Denz. 791 is only dealing with someone who claims that infants don't need to be baptized at all. Some of the Protestant denominations (in fact, most of them) were claiming that very thing, since they believed Baptism was merely symbolic.

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Question 776/30/05 Remnant article on Christian Zionism

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

I'm a lifelong Catholic who has just begun to be engaged in Catholic apologetics.

For the past 3 months I have been evangelizing, via E-mail, a Protestant Southern Baptist lady friend. That is one of the reasons I subscribed to this Bible study and purchased your book, Volume 1: "The Gospel According to St. Matthew."

I mailed her a copy of your Remnant article, "The New World Order and the Evangelical/Protestant Connection" and her rebuttal of it begins with the 4th paragraph below.

Although I'd never let Dawn know, I am thinking I may have gotten in over my head. Would it be possible for someone to help me with suggestions as to the best route to reply?

Thank you,

Mrs. Navia

------------------------

Hi Sandra,

Got your mail today and wanted to comment. Just read them so fresh on my mind.

The first thing was the Sex Training in Kennebunk. WOW...I will pass that around at work. I've already passed around the video from Heritage of ME. People are getting the message slowly but that's the best way is word of mouth and a video.

The second thing was the Daniel Chart. I see some truth and some error and very short on verses (nill). I also see the CC backdates. This is very common. Some Protestant churches do as well. It fits their theology better. It's called preterism. I have some people in my church that could be a preterist. I listen to R.C. Sproul on the radio. He's very good (Presbytarian). He's a partial Preterist. Like for instance the Abomination of Desolation already happened it said in the article you sent (Matt 24:15). I believe that is future when the AntiChrist sits on the throne in Jerusalem coming out as God and demanding to be worshipped. Daniel is actually not a hard book cuz it basically interprets itself. One of these days we'll have to look one verse or chapter at a time and go over.

The Last thing you sent was a big article against the Christian Zionists. I guess that would be me. The problem with his article was that he was putting or mixing different ideas/groups together. For instance, we have nothing to do with Bennie Hinn, Joyce Meyers, Paul Crouch and the like. They are all sensationalists that are out for money. You may say well they are Protestants. I think sometimes the Catholics just lump all the Protestants together and say it's the Cath against the Protest....but that's not right. It should be the Christians against the Non Christians. The Godly vs the ungodly. The Heathen against God's Elect. That's what God sees. This article did not defend the scriptures by pointing out the errors only attacked a mixed up belief by all sorts of groups. Some of what he said I believe and other stuff I didn't.

R. Sungenis: I know there are distinctions between the core beliefs of Evangelicals and Pentecostals (Hinn, Meyers, Crouch), but when it comes to Zionism, they all seem to be on the same page, thus it is quite appropriate to “lump them all together,” in that regard, since that was the main thrust of my essay.

Dawn: Now to refute that article a bit I need you to look up some verses. Start with Gen 12:1-7. This is where God first calls Abraham. He makes 7 promises in v 2-3. Seven means complete in scripture and is God's favorite number. Now go to 13:14-15. Notice the word forever? Now go to 15:18-21. Here is the first instance where God describes the land by giving boundaries. This has not been fulfilled yet and we know God always keeps his promises.

R. Sungenis: Unfortunately, Dawn is making the same mistake that all the above Christian Zionists have made for many years. The promises of Genesis 15:18-21 have, indeed, been fulfilled, since God himself said that he fulfilled them. Joshua 21:43-45; 1 Kings 8:56; and Nehemiah 9:7-8 all say that God fulfilled those promises by an oath he swore to Abraham. These three passages cover a time-span of approximately one thousand years. Here are the verses:

Joshua 21:43-45: 43 So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.
44 And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand.
45 Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

1 Kings 8:56: Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.

Nehemiah 9:7-8: "You are the LORD God, Who chose Abram And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees, And gave him the name Abraham.
8 "You found his heart faithful before You, And made a covenant with him To give him the land of the Canaanite, Of the Hittite and the Amorite, Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite-- To give it to his descendants. And You have fulfilled Your promise, For You are righteous.

Not surprisingly, you won’t find mention or commentary on these passages in virtually any Christian Zionist literature. Even the Scofield Reference Bible doesn’t comment on them, but it is easy to see why, since they totally negate the proposition that Genesis 15:18-21 still remains to be fulfilled.

Dawn: Now notice the Rivers mentioned. One is the Nile in Egypt and the other Eupharetes....I'm sure you know where that is? Yes Iraq. So God promised alot more land than what they have now. Get out a globe or/and a map and check out the territory as we go. Imagine if the bible illiterate world knew this huh? Now go to Joshua 1:1-4. Notice the land there now given to Joshua. This is many many years later. The southern boundary of this land was the wilderness of Arabia, the northern Lebanon the eastern the Eupharates River and the western the Mediterranean. The land of the Hittites is usually understood to mean northern Syria. This was the land promised to Abraham though never yet permanently possessed by Israel nor will it be until the Millennium.

R. Sungenis: No, it is not “many many years later.” The above verses (Jos 21:43-45; 1Kg 8:56; Neh 9:7-8) tell us that it was many many years in the past that the promise of land was already fulfilled. In fact, you can see some of the same names in Nehemiah 9:7-8 that are in Genesis 15:18-21 (Canaanite, Of the Hittite and the Amorite, Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite). And according to Joshua 1:4 (which Dawn herself cited), all this land is between the two rivers: the Great River (the Nile) and the Euphrates River.

Dawn also tries to slip in a fail-safe argument by claiming that “This was the land promised to Abraham though never yet permanently possessed by Israel,” probably in case someone like me points out to her that the promise of land was already fulfilled. In that case, Dawn will switch the argument to one of “permanent” possession, but this is a canard. Genesis 15:18-21 says nothing about the land being “permanent” possession. The keeping of the land was contingent upon Israel’s obedience. God was faithful to his promise; would Israel be faithful to theirs? The sad answer, of course, is no. Israel became faithless, the land was taken from them, and they were forsaken by God.

The only “permanent” possession of land is that which was promised to Abraham himself, but which he didn’t receive when he was alive on earth. Hebrews 11:39-40 tells us:

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

And what kind of land was Abraham to receive? Was it a parcel of land in Palestine? No, it had nothing to do with this present sin-cursed earth. According to Hebrews 11:10, 16, Abraham was looking for a heavenly land:

“for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”

Hence, the land Abraham and his faithful descendants will receive is not present-day Palestine, but the eternal dwelling place where God resides.

Dawn: The most territory they ever had was during the reign of Solomon but never had all of it as God promised Abraham. This will happen. And the Christian Zionists like me (I guess) believe it as well.

R. Sungenis: So now we see Dawn switching back to “the land was never given” argument, whereas above she had attempted to use the “the land was never a permanent possession” argument. In any case, according to Solomon in 1 Kings 8:56, all the land that God promised was given to Israel.

Dawn: Now what verses is this guy that you sent me to refute this? I saw none but his opinion. He was too busy just trying to rationalize us away with gobbly gook. You gotta separate opinion from facts. Which do you want to believe? He said that saying that God owes the Jews this land is a falsehood. Well God said so and that's good enough for me. Can you see where I could be misled here? What is he giving? Saw nothing but hot air.

R. Sungenis: I hope now that Dawn does not think that Joshua 21:43-45; 1 Kings 8:56 and Nehemiah 9:7-8 is “gobbly gook.”

Dawn: The other thing he mentioned was the 144,000 Jews in Revelation. He said they will rule with Christ over the Gentiles quoting us I guess. That's not what I believe at all. The 144,000 it says will be witnesses and sealed by God to go out and preach to other Jews. They are going to witness during the tribulation to the Jews that have been blinded up till now. Read Romans 11 if you want to see what Paul says about the Jews being saved in the end.

R. Sungenis: First, Romans 11 says nothing about a millennium or about a large portion of Jews being saved “in the end.” Romans 11:26-27 is speaking about the FIRST coming of Christ, the very salvation he had promised to the Jews in Abraham’s time. According to Luke 1:68-79, the salvation God promised to the Jews was fulfilled at Christ’s first coming. That is why St. Paul quotes from Isaiah 59 in Romans 11:26-27 concerning the making of a covenant and taking away sins. It was the FIRST coming of Christ that established the New Covenant and took away sins, as Hebrews 10:16-18:

16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,"
17 he also adds, "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more."
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Christ does not make any covenants when he appears at his Second Coming, or just before his Second Coming. Covenants and forgiveness of sins are confined to the First Coming.

Since Christ died and rose again, the Jews can still be saved (as opposed to totally cutting them off, as one would expect for their faithlessness, cf., Romans 11:1-2). Thus, from the coming of Christ until the end of time, God will still be saving Jews. He saved Jews in the Old Testament and he will save Jews in the New Testament, and thus “all Israel will be saved,” according to the promise God gave to Abraham and David.

As for the 144,000, I think Dawn better read up on the Dispensationalist literature, since they are quite clear that they believe 144,000 Jewish evangelists will be ruling with Christ.

Dawn: Now on the Rapture he spoke of. He talks about the word "day". In the OT when it speaks of prophecy it calls this time "THE DAY OF THE LORD" You'll see it over and over again. It's more than one day. It's a period of time. Paul talked about us being in the "day" of Grace. We've been in the day of Grace for 2,000 yrs now. Day can be a period of time. Sort of like saying....In my day......it's not one day.

R. Sungenis: Dawn is trying to capitalize on the fact that “day” can also be used as an indefinite period of time, but unfortunately for her, that is not the way St. Paul uses the word in 1 Thess 4:14-17; 5:2

14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.
15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.
16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.

2 For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

St. Paul specifies simultaneous events (For the Lord himself…will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together). These do not happen over months or years, but as verse 5:2 says, “the day of the Lord.” In fact, the New Testament uses the phrase “day of the Lord” only five times (1Co 5:5; 2Co 1:14; 1Th 5:2; 2Th 2:2; 2Pt 3:10). In none of the passages is “day” considered to be a lengthy or indefinite period of time. 2Pt 3:10, for example, gives another set of simultaneous events to match those of 1 Thess 4:14-17:

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.”

Dawn: He also says all the dead will be raised at once. That is not what scripture says. I already showed you Rev 20 where it's clear there is two resurrections. The resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust. Just like there are two parts of the harvest (wheat & Chaff) there are two parts of the harvest in the final harvest. Remember Jesus said let the two grow together until the harvest in the end? Well too late to pull the scripture but you can see the harvesting by angels in Rev 14 and elsewhere.

R. Sungenis: Dawn doesn’t know her Scripture. If she did, she would see that Scripture says there is one time the dead will be raised, the LAST DAY.

John 6:39: And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

John 6:40: This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day."

John 6:54: Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day;

John 6:44: No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day.

John 11:24: Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."

Now, since the resurrection of the just is the Last Day, how can we know if the resurrection of the unjust is the Last Day? By observing the passages that specify that the resurrection of the just is at the same time as the resurrection of the unjust:

John 12:48: The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge,

Then, we observe another passage in John that puts both the resurrection of the just and the unjust at the same time, John 5:28-29:

28 Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice
29 and will come out-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Now, what will Dawn try to do to refute this? She will posit that, in John 5:29, there is a thousand years between the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust, since that is what the Dispensationalists she follows have stated. But do you see a one thousand year interval between the resurrections of John 5:29? The text certainly doesn’t contain such. It is only added because Dawn’s eschatology demands that it be so.

Let’s look at some other passages that speak of a resurrection of the just and unjust to see if there is an interval of time separating the two:

Daniel 12:2: Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Acts 24:15: I have a hope in God-- a hope that they themselves also accept-- that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

Romans 2:6-8: For he will repay according to each one's deeds: 7 to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

No, we don’t see any interval, least of all one of a thousand years. The only time a one thousand year period is mentioned in the New Testament is in the highly symbolic book of the Apocalypse, Chapter 20. But in order to understand what that symbolic section is saying about the resurrections, we first have to understand the clearer passages in the rest of the New Testament, such as the ones I cited above in the Gospel of John. Since no passage in the New Testament separates the resurrection of the just and unjust by one thousand years, it is dubious to do such for the resurrections of Apocalypse 20. That is why the Catholic Church has insisted that the “first resurrection” in the symbolic text of Apoc 20:4 is our Baptism when we are raised from the spiritual dead, as is taught in such passages as Eph 2:5-6:

5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-- by grace you have been saved--
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

or Colossians 2:12-13:

when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses,

Dawn: Scripture has the answers and I know you desire to learn more about what they say. So compare what this guy you sent said to the above scriptures.....prayerfully.

R. Sungenis: Indeed, we have had a Scripture lesson, but we have found that Scripture does not support Dawn’s opinions.

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Question 76Foucault Pendulum

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

I am a beginning student of the Geo/Heliocentric issue. Do you have any articles or thoughts on the supposed proof of the earth’s rotation, performed by Foucault? As you know, it is very common to find books saying that Foucault proved the earth rotates, through use of his pendulum. I have found none that explain exactly how this proof works. Obviously, you know about his “proof” and, if his proof worked, then you would not be a geocentrist. I am trying to pursue truth and to give an explanation to my homeschooled high schooler. Help, please!

Thanks for you thoughts!

In the Sacred Heart,

John Pfeiffer

R. Sungenis: John, the rotation of the plane of a Foucault pendulum only proves that there is a force moving the pendulum against the Earth. It doesn't prove the Earth is rotating. In the geocentric system, it is the universe that is rotating against a fixed Earth and causing the forces that move the pendulum. Modern science has no way to refute this, since it has established that a fixed Earth in a rotating universe will produce the same centrifugal, Coriolis and Euler forces that a rotating Earth in a fixed universe will produce. The whole theory of Relativity is based on this simple fact.

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Question 75VIRTUS & The Culture of Death

Mr. Sungenis,

I'm not too sure how familiar you are with the program VIRTUS (mandated by the USCCB to be taught in all diocese's), but it seems that there is a great deal of information that ties this program to such entities as Planned Parenthood.

A good friend of mine in the diocese of Charleston, SC wrote the following two articles.

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

I have been informed that in my own archdiocese (Indianapolis), the VIRTUS program for children will begin being taught November 1, 2005. I have a copy of the lesson plans for these courses and to be quite honest this nothing but sex education with another name.

The following attachment is from an attorney that was recently in The Wanderer:

PDF Attachment

May God have mercy on us...

Rick Orr

B. Douglass: Rick,

You're absolutely right. This program is an outrage. Given that looking at the pictures in A Touching Book seriously distrubed me, I can't imagine the amount of damage it would do to a young child. Thank you for bringing this to CAI's attention and giving us a chance to further publicize the excellent work the American Life League, the Holy Family Society, and Thomas Augustine have done to expose this program. St. John Bosco, pray for us.

JMJ,
Ben Douglass

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Question 74Cardinal McCarrick's Prayer to Allah

Bob,

I ran across this on the net the other night. It is a news account of Cardinal McCarrick praying to Allah and in the name of Allah. It was posted on the CUA website. Since I first found it, it has been removed from the site, but I found it again on google's cache. It is now no longer on google's cache. Fortunately I printed off a copy, plus I saved the text to my computer. It still comes up when you do a search for Cardinal McCarrick.

It is the Sept. 13 story 2nd from the top. (As of this writing) As you will see, the link no longer works. Here is the text I saved. If you wish me to snail-mail my printed copy, I will! I would appreciate your comments on this.

“Traditional Islam: The Path to Peace”

Address by King Abdullah II of Jordan
Remarks by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick
Archbishop of Washington and CUA Chancellor
CUA Columbus School of Law
Sept. 13, 2005

Your Majesty, King Abdullah
Your Majesty Queen Rania
Prince Ghazi
Members of the delegation from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Father President
Distinguished guests from many faith communities
Dear friends all,

Your Majesty,

A few months ago, when I was privileged to pray for you on another occasion in this capital city, I asked Allah, the compassionate and merciful Lord of all the world, to bless you and to help you make your country a bridge across which all nations might walk in unity, fellowship and love. As I listened to your words today, I believe my prayer is being answered.

Indeed, the Amman Message of November of last year is a blueprint and a challenge not only to the great world of Islam, but to the whole human race. Your thoughtful leadership is a stirring invitation to all of us, especially to the people of the Book, the family of Abraham, who share so much and who are called to be brothers and sisters in God’s one human family.

You have taken to heart the words of Pope Benedict XVI when he addressed the Muslim leaders gathered with him in Germany last month and invited them all to join him in eliminating from all hearts any trace of rancor, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence. As you quoted in your splendid talk to us today, Pope Benedict called his listeners, in this way, to turn back the way of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress for world peace.

Your Majesty’s call and that of the Holy Father are in so many ways the same. May Allah, the merciful and compassionate, continue to guide your steps along this noble path. May He guide and protect you, your family and your beloved country and may peace and justice come to all lands and all peoples through your efforts, your vision and your courage.

In the name of Allah, the merciful and compassionate God, we pray. Amen.

Revised: September 7, 2005

All contents copyright © 2005.
The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.

R. Sungenis: Well, obviously, Cardinal McCarrick is engaging in heresy. To my knowledge, this is the first time a cardinal has ever made such a prayer. It is one thing to say that Muslims acknowledge monotheism (as the Catholic Catechism does in para 847), but it is quite another for a Catholic to pray to Allah as if he were praying to the triune God of Christianity.

Unfortunately, McCarrick has gone the next step in the liberal agenda, and it is not surprising that it has come from an American cardinal, since they have been in virtual schism with the Vatican for many years. It is not unlike the trial balloon that Cardinal Keeler floated a couple of years ago with his document "Reflections on Covenant and Missions" that was filled with heretical ideas, and for which he received the appropriate backlash from faithful Catholics.

McCarrick, being the radical liberal he is known to be, is trying the same thing, seeking to see what kind of reaction he is going to get. We all, with one voice, should resoundingly show him our objections, as required by Canon Law 212, 2-3, and flood Pope Benedict's office with letters of protest. Rest assured, Pope Benedict has neither sanctioned nor approved of such a prayer.

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Question 73Eastern Orthodox vrs. Roman Catholicism re Confession

Sungenis: You have yet to disprove it, since you can't prove that a written testimony of a doctrine antedates its practice. Conversely, the Catholic history of doctrine shows that the practice invariably precedes the written testimony.

AL: That the Catholic history of doctrine shows that the practice invariably preceeded the written testimony, that does not prove that this is the case here. You are assuming this, but you have yet to prove it. And you have yet to prove that written testimony post-dates the actual event. The very fact we are even having this discussion proves you have not done this.

R. Sungenis: But the burden of proof is on you, not me, since Confession is a regular practice in the 2000 year old Church; it has an ancient pedigree in writing to at least 170 AD (and it may be further, but we don’t have the records); it is a fact that not every practice antedated its written testimony; and the Fathers don’t claim to be inventing a new doctrine but say they are following what was handed down to them. Your challenge of these facts means that you must come up with more credible and provable alternatives, not merely cite your aversion to Confession as the motivation or a lacuna in the written testimony as your proof.

Sungenis: That would hardly pass muster in a court of law, since the precedent has already been established with other sacraments (e.g., Baptism, the Eucharist, etc) that the biblical mandates were followed in practice by the early Church, and the written testimony as to the practice and validity was then testified to by the Church Fathers. No canonical lawyer worth his salt would ever say that Confession was invalid simply because no one chose to write about it before 170 AD. (And that is assuming that 170 AD is the earliest date. There may be earlier testimony that has not survived). As for your statement that "Apostates never admit they are apostates, and they may not have known they were," that applies to you as much as you are trying to apply it to me, so the result is neutral. The problem for you is, if you declare the Catholic Church (which was the only Church in the first centuries) apostate, then you have declared the Church of Jesus Christ even more of a failure than the nation of Israel which lasted 2000 years. That would hardly be believable since Jesus said that not only would the Church be better than Israel, but that the "gates of hell would NOT prevail against it."

AL: I reject your claim that the RCC was the only church in the first century. The first century Jewish Christians had nothing in common with the RCC. It was not untill the paradigm shift in theology occured in the 4th century that the seeds of the RCC were born. And you are assuming that the promise in Matt. 16 applies to the RCC. I reject that claim because there was no RCC when that problem was made. A canonical lawyer would argue for objective evidence, not later hearsay testimony which is your sole basis of authority on this issue.

R. Sungenis: The “objective evidence” has already been given to you. The Fathers of the Church cite all the popes from the first century to the fourth century in an unbroken chain of apostolic succession. They all cite and follow the popes from those four centuries as their ultimate authority. For you to contest this, you would have to provide evidence that a consensus of Fathers rejected the popes from the first to the fourth centuries, but I can save you the time – there is no such evidence.

Sungenis: I don't need to know what specific denomination you follow, since there was only one Church from the first centuries. Any other group who claimed to be the Church would, by logical necessity, be a false church.

AL: The only Church in the first century was the Jewish Christian paradigm. There were NO Roman Catholics. You admit there may have been groups who claimed authenticity but reject them because of your allegiance to the RCC paradigm.

R. Sungenis: “Paradigms” are not churches. A church is defined by the divine authority it carries. The pope and the bishops were in authority from the beginning, in the first century, and it makes little difference if this Church was a mixture of Jews and Gentles or not.

Sungenis: The Fathers speak about no other Church that is one, holy and apostolic than the Catholic Church. That is the "logic" upon which I base my argument.

AL: You appeal to father's who existed in your own theological constellation. This is circular because you are assuming in your premise (validity of RCC) what you have failed to prove in your conclusion (validity of father's). Also, many of the father's you depend on were Eastern. That is, Orthodox who never maintained any of the modern RCC innovations.

R. Sungenis: Show me a consensus of Eastern Fathers prior to 1054 who did not give his allegiance to the pope of Rome, and then you have something. Let me save you the time – there isn’t such a consensus. In fact, knowing the Eastern Fathers as I do, they would be appalled at your contestations today.

Sungenis: Yes I have, since the Fathers tell us that their writings are following the practices already initiated by authority of the pope and bishops and which was duly followed by the Christians who populated their churches.

AL: I understand the claim of your system. The problem is that there is no evidence supporting the claim of priestly confession prior to 170 AD.

R. Sungenis: You don’t even know that much. The only thing you DO know is that we POSSESS a written record of Confession from 170 AD, but you don’t know that there was no written evidence before 170 AD, since our lack of possession of such a document does not prove that such a document did not exist.

Sungenis: You are sincerely wrong. When Jesus gave the keys to Peter he said, "I will build my Church," hence, there was one Church associated with Peter, not two or a thousand. The fact that that Church still exists is proof that "the gates of hell will not prevail against it." As for you claim that "The "catholic" church was not invented untill the fourth century," I suggest you read the testimony of St. Augustine who, in the FOURTH century, gave a list of the popes of the Church he served which extended all the way back to Peter as the first pope. No one in the FOURTH century said they were "inventing" a Church; they all said they were following the Church of Jesus Christ that was handed down to them. Conversly, all you have to counter these claims are your own opinions and prejudices, but the Fathers condemned such heresy countless times in their day.

AL: What you are saying is your own opinions and prejudices because the entire Eastern paradigm of Christian history rejects the claims of the RCC, as does protestantism. I understand the list of popes. The problem is that they were not RCC Christians as it is understood today.

R. Sungenis: An RCC Christian is defined by his allegiance to the RCC pope. Since all Christians in the first to fourth century gave their allegiance to the pope, then they were all RCC. The only way for you to disprove this is to show the evidence that Christians existed who were sanctioned by the bishops and Fathers as not being required to give their allegiance to the pope. I can save you the time – there is no such testimony.

AL: P.S. You don't have to continue this duscussion if you don't want to. I know you are a busy man. I know where you stand. Iam Orthodox myself. However I have recently begun to question the teaching of confession because such a notion carries with it the idea that it is possible to count sins. We can't count our sins because we are sinful by nature. To deny this is to affirm it (pride). I understand and believe in confession, but to confess all sins in detail (as many Orthodox teach) is just simply not possible.

R. Sungenis: Well, then, you need to become a Catholic, because we don’t require that you remember every last sin. We only require that you do your best to remember your sins, and if there is a failure in that regard, you tell the priest that you are sorry for “these and all my other sins.” The priest then gives absolution for the confessed sins, and all the unconfessed sins that one may have forgotten.

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Question 72Exorcism of Emily Rose Catholic?

I noticed that you included in your Q&A a note that you received from me regarding The Exorcism of Emily Rose. However I subsequently wrote a note to you that included the message in quotes and green font below. Did you not receive it or have you not had time to deal with it? I am asking because I consider the movie problematic and harmful to the Church. I’m willing to stand corrected but I don’t see any resemblance to Our lady of Fatima as you do.

Part of your response in Q&A states:

R. Sungenis: “ the fact that the BVM was part of the movie is unprecedented and has all the earmarks of the representing the enduring message of Fatima as the answer for the world's present problems, but to which our present hierarchy simply not listened.”

Perhaps you mean that the BVM being in the film of a secular movie is unprecedented. I have two movies with her in them. And that is my point. The film about the exorcism is not a Catholic film and for me it is very problematic.

As I see it the “apparition” more resembles the “apparition” in Medjugorje than Fatima. The so-called apparition in Medjugorje is the figment of the so-called “seers” imaginations. In the movie, produced by Sony pictures is a figment of the imaginations of the writers Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson. Sony Pictures is not known as a Catholic production studio and a quick check of the writers’ bios does not lead one to think that they are Catholic writers. When Mel Gibson’s movie THE PASSION was released, his ultra-traditional Catholicism was advertised all over the place. I am always willing to be corrected if I’m wrong so since you have stated in different words that you think that the movie represents good Catholicism and I don’t; moreover I believe that the movie gives a false picture of the Church. I would like to ask you once again to show from Tradition where the BVM and by extension God, since she can do nothing against His will, ever co-operated in keeping a person in control of demons. It would seem that it would be more in the Tradition of the Church that Mary would cast out the demon or if that is the work that the Church reserves only for priests, I would think that the BVM would send a good priest to perform the exorcism.

My previous note stating my concerns about the movie: “I would very much like to know anywhere in Tradition where a person was possessed by demons with the cooperation of the BVM. If I remember correctly God allowed the demons to torment the Curé of Ars. But the demons did not possess him. In the bible Job was allowed to suffer because the devil told God that Job only loved him when things were going good and if he had real trials, that Job would not love Him (God). But demons didn’t possess him either.

Also, in the bible demons were driven out Matt. 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria, and they presented to him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and such as were possessed by devils, and lunatics, and those that had the palsy, and he cured them

Matt. 8:16 And when evening was come, they brought to him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word: and all that were sick he healed:

Matt. 28: And when he was come on the other side of the water, into the country of the Gerasens, there met him two that were possessed with devils, coming out of the sepulchres, exceeding fierce, so that none could pass by that way. 29: And behold they cried out, saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 30: And there was, not far from them, a herd of many swine feeding. 31: And the devils besought him, saying: If thou cast us out hence, send us into the herd of swine. 32: And he said to them: Go. But they going out went into the swine, and behold the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea: and they perished in the waters. 33: And they that kept them fled: and coming into the city, told every thing, and concerning them that had been possessed by the devils.

There is more in the bible about casting out demons but since you probably know the bible better than me I’m sure that those quotes will suffice.

Demon possession: the control of someone's mind or actions by an evil spirit. I don’t think that it has escaped your attention that I admire and respect your work and agree with you on almost every thing. But I have to tell you. I cannot accept that the BVM and by extension God, for she can do nothing against God would have told this girl that she could rid herself of the demon by dying but otherwise that demon stays. It is difficult for me to believe. I hope that you will find time to reply to this letter. I think that this would be a good Q & A question/discussion.”

Thank you,
Donna

R.Sungenis: First, let me say that if Emily Rose were written and produced by Catholics, I would have expected a lot more from the movie. In fact, I would want all the I’s dotted and all the T’s crossed, theologically speaking. But since this movie is written and produced by secular writers, I am rather amazed at what a fair treatment they have given to Catholicism and how many things they got right.

Since it is based on a true story, one can hardly leave the movie without being stirred in his mind that that the spirit world, indeed, exists; as well as having perhaps one’s first introduction to the influence of the Blessed Virgin Mary upon our world. Even if there are some flaws in the technical theological aspects, a movie of this nature and magnitude can make a lot of people begin to think the right thoughts. (It is presently the #1 movie).

It is far different from Medjugorje, since Medjugorje claims to be “written and produced,” as it were, by Catholics. Medjugorje is an ongoing fraud that purports to be in direct contact with heaven, whereas Emily Rose is merely a movie depicting events that actually occurred (although there are additions for drama’s sake).

As for the Blessed Virgin’s role in Emily Rose, the BVM would not do anything that was contrary to God’s wishes, and, in fact, the information she gave to Emily (if, indeed, it actually occurred) would be what the BVM had learned from God. I don’t think there is a problem in the BVM’s role in Emily Rose since she is not dictating to Emily, by her own decision, what must occur, but only stating the facts to Emily that she has learned from God. The BVM does not make the decision that the demons will stay in Emily if Emily decides to stay on earth. She only states the fact that the demons will not leave her body, which is a fact she brought with her from heaven, not something the BVM decided herself. Since we know that some demons will not come out (as is implied by the fact that the apostles could not remove some demons – Mt 17:21), heaven has the knowledge of the future that the demons in Emily will not depart. Thus, the BVM is not “cooperating” in keeping the demons in Emily, rather, she is merely realizing, as determined by heaven, that these particular demons will not depart from Emily, for whatever reason.

Once the BVM and Emily are aware of that fact, they both can determine what their next course of action will be. It is a fact that if Emily dies the demons will not be bothering her any longer, thus, the BVM’s relaying of that fact to her doesn’t mean that the BVM is making the decision as to what will occur. She is only the intermediary in this instance, showing Emily her options. What is astounding to me is that Emily, as St. Paul did in last Sunday’s reading of the epistle, decides to stay in order to be a witness for God, and it is even more astounding that this has come from secular writers! That, as I said, is Christianity in a nutshell.

I hope this clears up the matter for you.

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Question 71What will Purgatory be like?

What will Purgatory be like? Is there real fire there like the fire in hell? Is there pain of sense?

B.Douglass: Dear Sir,

Since the inhabitants of purgatory have no bodies, "fire" can only be a metaphor, however fitting. Be that as it may, the poor souls do experience the poena sensus, and also the poena damni, the temporary exclusion from the beatific vision, which is painful because they long for union with God, and know that it is their fault they have not yet achieved it. TAN Books publishes several books about purgatory (by An Ursuline of Sligo, Fr. Faber, Fr. Schouppe, etc.) which I would recommend for further reading (learn more about your faith, and help prevent them from going under!).

JMJ,
Ben Douglass

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Question 70Do you have your materials on CD?

Is there any possibility that your products will be available in CD format soon?

Rob and Lorna Miller

R.Sungenis: Rob and Lorna, yes, we have many of them now available in CD. Write to our secretary, Kari, and ask her for a list of them.

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Question 69Catholic Apologetics International

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

Thank you so much for the signed books and CD debates between you and James White you have sent me. As for the donation, I would be happy again to donate to you apostolate. I believe your defense of our Catholic Church is worth more than gold. I would not be surprised if someone would say they converted to Catholicism because of you. I haven’t seen any Catholic apologist who is as skilled and with your expertise in presenting the faith. Your debates with White are so enjoyable to listen to and anyone who still cannot accept the Catholic faith is either denying the truth because their reputation is at stake (like how would White explain to the members of his congregation if he converts to Catholicism?) or they are hardheaded like the Jews in Jesus’ times.

Thank you so much because you have further given me confidence that the Catholic Church is the one and only church established by Christ two thousand years ago and no one else.

God bless you and your family.

Dennis

R.Sungenis: Dennis, thank you so much for your appreciation and your generosity! It is a pleasure to assist people such as yourself with the gifts God has given us. God be with you!

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Question 68I reject your interpertation of Isaiah 53 and 1Peter 2:24

Dear Mr. Sungenis....(although I cannot say your theology is "dear" to my heart),

R. Sungenis: I wouldn’t expect my theology to be “dear” to a Protestant who has rejected the Catholic Church.

Jaret: When I was shown your statement in "Not By Faith Alone" that the Lord Jesus Christ did NOT take "UPON HIMSELF" the guilt and punishment of the individual, I did ask to read the whole chapter. Not knowing if this e-mail address is good anymore, I will only say this in brief: I REJECT your conclusion on three points:

1) Isaiah 53 seems to hang over your belief system like a black cloud, for we read that "the chastisement of our peace was "UPON HIM"....and the Lord has laid ON HIM the iniquity of us all."

R. Sungenis: If you are trying to use this as a support for the idea that Christ took our legal punishment, it’s not going to work. The words “upon him” and “on him” don’t prove anything for you, except that something was put upon Christ instead of put upon us. What that “something” is is the matter of dispute. Unfortunately for your position, Isaiah 53 says nothing about Christ taking upon himself the precise legal punishment for our sins, which is eternal damnation. Obviously, since Christ’s spirit went to the Father immediately upon His death and his body was raised in three days, then Christ didn’t suffer eternal damnation. Rather, Isaiah 53:10 says Christ was a “guilt offering” (taken from the Protestant New American Standard), and in 53:11 it says the Father “will see it and be satisfied.” As you know, “offerings” that “satisfy” refer to a sacrifice to propitiate the one offended, not as a legal punishment to take the place of the punishment of the offender. This is not a legal transaction, it is a propitiatory action between two personal beings, and that is why St. Paul refers to it being a “propitiation” in Romans 3:25. You will never find one sentence in Scripture saying that Christ paid the legal punishment of the wicked on the cross. That is an invention of Luther and Calvin, who rejected the Catholic Church as you have done.

Jaret: 2) He not only died "FOR" our iniquities, but more specifically, "Himself BORE our sins." (1 Pet 2:4....yes, you do have many footnotes and an index, but I went to the index to see how you would deal with this verse that came to mind immediately, and I noticed you ignored it. Later, however, I found you did mention this verse (tsk, tsk, to your index compiler) on p. 106. Nevertheless, what you wrote there was insufficient, only letting us know that "bore" is a sacrificial term. What you should have included, but did not, because it interferes with your thesis, is that the verb used by Peter is BASTADZEIN, whose meaning is to bear or CARRY UPON ONE'S PERSON (!!!).

R. Sungenis: You don’t know your Greek, Jaret. The verb is not bastadzein, it is anenegken. Perhaps you got mixed up in your Strong’s Concordance. In any case, the fact that anenegken also has the idea of someone taking something upon himself doesn’t prove anything for you. Considering the fact that anenegken is a sacrificial term (which you can find out for yourself by looking at any Greek lexicon), the only thing the added dimension of “carry upon one’s person” proves is that Christ carried upon himself the sacrifice to propitiate the Father.

Jaret: (By the way, I had quite an argument with my Catholic friend on that statement you make on p. 106 that if Christ paid the eternal consequence for everyone's sin, He would have no recourse to punish anyone because the sin would be adjucated and He would not demand double payment. First, I do not believe Scripture teaches Jesus died for every person without exception as there are too many examples where it seen God leaves people in their blindness.

R. Sungenis: God leaves people in their blindness only after they have decided to reject him (Rom 11:7-8; Ezek 33:11; Zech 1:3; Exo 9:34f; 2Tim 2:11-13). As for Christ dying for every person, I suggest you read 1 John 2:2: “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

Jaret: Second, if God does not choose to open someone's heart to the truth and decides to let them remain blind, it cannot be said the sacrifice of Christ would apply to them, so they will suffer their due throughout eternity.

R. Sungenis: at’s not what 1Tim 2:4 and 4:10 teach:

3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Jaret: As for the believer, obviously the opposite is true and God's distributive justice as seen in the face of Jesus Christ and all He came to accomplish for us, allows God the judge to be satisfied. No one in either of the two cases above is even contemplating the scenerio of any sort of "double payment" being made. This seems like a canard you have inserted for who knows what reason. The believer's sins are covered and the unbeliever's are not, end of story....no double payment is even being asked for or assumed by anyone!

R. Sungenis: This argument might have some substance to it if you could prove that not everyone in the world has the propitiation of Christ applied to them, but that, of course, would contradict the above passages of Scripture I cited (1John 2:2; 1Tim 2:4; 4:10). Hence, “double payment” is no canard, but the very logic that exposes your Calvinistic perversion of the predestination doctrine.

Jaret: 3) I was delighted when my friend gave me a copy of the CCC because I did not think that your thesis could be found there as it was something I had never heard before and I considered myself fairly familiar with RC theology. While I didn't read the entire book, I did avail myself to places relating to salvation and the like, and I think it is fair to say the CCC does NOT even allude to your most fantastic claim. What I DID come across was something that appears to directly contradict your assertion of what the Lord supposedly did NOT do. Behold! The CCC says that HE DID! In #713 we read that "(Christ) TOOK OUR DEATH UPON HIMSELF..."

R. Sungenis: Jaret, you’re not going to prove anything by taking little snippets out of context or avoiding what the rest of Catholic theology, including the Catechism, says about this issue. Unfortunately, most of Protestant theology is merely one instance after another of taking passages of Scripture out of context; and since everyone does it, that is why you have thousands of denominations all saying something different about those very passages. Perhaps you could do us a favor and read the rest of Not By Faith Alone and the more detailed Not By Bread Alone to see where not only the Catholic Catechism but also the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Church Fathers and Medievals, as well as the Popes and Councils all preach the same Gospel of the Atonement I have presented. That won’t be possible, however, if you are searching for support from statements such as “Christ took our death upon himself” to prove your point, since that statement merely says that Christ experienced death for every man, as Hebrews 2:9 says: “Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone,” which, unfortunately for you, is against YOUR theology, since you don’t think Jesus died for everyone, but only for an elite group with whom you affiliate.

Jaret: Mr. Sungenis, if you were to die now, standing before God with all your good works "as the MEANS TO RIGHTEOUSNESS" that you believe allows you into heaven (p. 218) ---coupled with the horrific rejection that Christ did not take *** UPON HIMSELF *** that very punishment you so richly deserve as Scripture and even the CCC admit is so......methinks that you will NOT be let in.

R. Sungenis: Fortunately for us, Jaret, you are not in control of who is saved, although apparently you would like to be. Jesus had some harsh words for those who insisted on such a position:

13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

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Question 67UFO's

Dear Robert,

As regards the discussion on UFO's (Q 55 in Sept. ' 05, and Q 69 in Aug. ' 05), you will find a superb study of that subject in an article by Alain Kerizo in the Oct. ' 01 issue of the Angelus which can be viewed on line through the links from www.angeluspress.org or by simply doing a word search using Alain Kerizo. The article is "Who's Behind the UFO Phenomenon?" and is exceptionally well written. Because of your background I think you would find it particularly fascinating, illuminating, and convincing. The article expounds on how the key to the mystery of the UFO's is to be found in Christian demonology. At the same time, it does not exclude a priori a direct intervention of men in producing such phenomenon.

Sincerely yours,
James B. Phillips

R.Sungenis: James, thank you for this contribution to the discussion. We will post it on our Q&A board so that everyone can be informed as to the possible demonic dimension of this phenomenon.

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Question 66The Exorcism of Emily Rose: A movie to see

I saw this movie on opening night. I wanted to see this movie after reading a little on the history of the actual exorcism. The movie is based on the exorcism of Anneliese Michel. You can read a brief history here: http://www.moviesonline.ca/movienews_1253.html

The movie is entertaining, but there are some issues I have with the movie. The writers mixed some superstition into the script which I found a little insulting (is 3am really considered a "witching hour" in catholic doctrine? If so I'd like to have a talk with the Pope.) You'll just have to see the movie to know what I mean.

R.Sungenis: Donna, I did see the movie and I had researched the real story as you did. I think it was a very good movie. I don't know if 3am is the witching hour, but I don't think that really is an issue. I think the best part of the movie was when Emily is told by the BVM that the demons will not leave her body, but she can either escape the suffering by allowing the BVM to take her to heaven, or she can stay so as to be a witness to the world that the spirit world really exists and thereby convert many. She, of course, chooses to stay. That scene was all of Christianity in a nutshell. Regardless of the details, it was a movie I would never have expected to come out of Hollywood. It was far better than the Exorcist which depended on far too many fantastic graphic images to present its case, and was without a satisfying resolution at the end. "Emily" was a real Christian and served by a faithful priest, whereas Megan was an example of how a nominal Catholic family can fall into the devil's clutches and how the modern priesthood is full of doubters (it took a priest from the old church to perform the exorcism on Megan). Moreover, the courtroom drama in Emily Rose was the perfect setting for the battle between faith and disbelief. The priest represented faith; his lawyer represented someone struggling with faith; and the prosecutor represented someone who won't believe no matter what the evidence. Also, the fact that the judge and jury gave the priest "time served" as his sentence showed that the people of the world know, deep in their heart, what the truth is, but are afraid to admit it. The fact that the "archdiocese" was portrayed as a political machine who tossed with public opinion and didn't care either for Emily or its priest but only wanted to save face with its critics is a perfect example of most dioceses today, especially in America. Also, the fact that the BVM was part of the movie is unprecedented and has all the earmarks of the representing the enduring message of Fatima as the answer for the world's present problems, but to which our present hierarchy simply not listened.

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Question 65Is the Catholic Church the True Church?

R. Sungenis: The words "may be" are not used to express doubt but to show that the time period in which the doctrine was written down is independent of the practice of the doctrine that occurred before the writing of it.

Response: That sounds circular to me. You have yet to establish your claim that the practice was held prior to 170 AD.

R. Sungenis: You have yet to disprove it, since you can't prove that a written testimony of a doctrine antedates its practice. Conversely, the Catholic history of doctrine shows that the practice invariably precedes the written testimony.

R. Sungenis: You're just proving my point, since there is no indication from the Church Fathers and the ruling pope and bishops that the Church was in apostasy. Hypotheticals don't win arguments; yours included.

Response: Apostates never admit they are apostates, and they may not have known they were. My point was to show that it is possible that the ecumenical/Constantinain paradigm of Christian belief may have been a perverted form of Christianity. The very fact that there is no objective evidence supporting the thesis that confession to a priest existed prior to 170 AD, speaks volumes. This is evidently a man-made custom that has no basis in objective historical or biblical reality.

R. Sungenis: That would hardly pass muster in a court of law, since the precedent has already been established with other sacraments (e.g., Baptism, the Eucharist, etc) that the biblical mandates were followed in practice by the early Church, and the written testimony as to the practice and validity was then testified to by the Church Fathers. No canonical lawyer worth his salt would ever say that Confession was invalid simply because no one chose to write about it before 170 AD. (And that is assuming that 170 AD is the earliest date. There may be earlier testimony that has not survived). As for your statement that "Apostates never admit they are apostates, and they may not have known they were," that applies to you as much as you are trying to apply it to me, so the result is neutral. The problem for you is, if you declare the Catholic Church (which was the only Church in the first centuries) apostate, then you have declared the Church of Jesus Christ even more of a failure than the nation of Israel which lasted 2000 years. That would hardly be believable since Jesus said that not only would the Church be better than Israel, but that the "gates of hell would NOT prevail against it."

R. Sungenis: Then you cut your own throat by the same knife. Is there any evidence of YOUR denomination before 170 AD? There isn't, so your denomination has no legitimacy.

Response: How do you know this when I haven't even told you what my denomination is?

R. Sungenis: I don't need to know what specific denomination you follow, since there was only one Church from the first centuries. Any other group who claimed to be the Church would, by logical necessity, be a false church.

R. Sungenis: Hearsay? Hardly. Go read their writings and find out. They all say they are following what was passed down to them.

Response: Iam familiar with the claim. The problem is that all heretics and apostates make the same claim. By what law of logic do you forbid them and permit yourself?

R. Sungenis: The Fathers speak about no other Church that is one, holy and apostolic than the Catholic Church. That is the "logic" upon which I base my argument.

R. Sungenis: You can't use as proof something you haven't proven, therefore, your argument that "if it wasn't written down it makes the practice illegitimate" is fallacious.

Response: The only "proof" you claim to have comes from later father's who made a claim. And you have not proven that my claim that something is illegitimate if it is not written down is fallacious.

R. Sungenis: Yes I have, since the Fathers tell us that their writings are following the practices already initiated by authority of the pope and bishops and which was duly followed by the Christians who populated their churches.

R. Sungenis: Sungenis: As for the Mt 16:18-19 and John 20:23, you merely show that, having a free will, you can impose your own interpretation on a given passage. The question is, however, who is right: you or the Church that is 2000 years old and was promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven? I dare say it's not you.

Response: That also sounds circular. The RCC cannot be 2000 years old because there is no evidence for confession to a priest prior to 170 AD. Also, the original Jewish Christian paradigm had nothing in common with the RCC. The "catholic" church was not invented untill the fourth century, and the modern catholic church today was not even invented untill the middle ages. Lastly, the RCC was not promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven. There was no church of Rome when Jesus made that promise. He said it to Peter. You are reading into those texts your preconceived notions.

R. Sungenis: You are sincerely wrong. When Jesus gave the keys to Peter he said, "I will build my Church," hence, there was one Church associated with Peter, not two or a thousand. The fact that that Church still exists is proof that "the gates of hell will not prevail against it." As for you claim that "The "catholic" church was not invented untill the fourth century," I suggest you read the testimony of St. Augustine who, in the FOURTH century, gave a list of the popes of the Church he served which extended all the way back to Peter as the first pope. No one in the FOURTH century said they were "inventing" a Church; they all said they were following the Church of Jesus Christ that was handed down to them. Conversly, all you have to counter these claims are your own opinions and prejudices, but the Fathers condemned such heresy countless times in their day.

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Question 64The Teaching Company and the Bible

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

Though I have some disagreements with CAI's approach, I have read some of your articles and found them to be quite useful. One in particular, Refuting Homosexuals who Use the Bible to Defend Homosexuality, reminded me of a set of lectures I bought on the Old Testament.

Maybe you have heard of The Teaching Company? They have become very popular within the last few years and their influence can (is/will) have an impact on the way people (lay people) understand the Bible.

You seem more predisposed to take on liberal 'exegetes' and their errors than other apologists, so I'm writing to let you know that there are three courses The Teaching Company sells in which you would probably find a lot of false teaching. The three I have in mind are: Old TestamentGreat Figures of the Old Testament, and Great Figures of the New Testament.

Perhaps you don't have time to look into these, but the claims are so atrocious ("Homosexuality isn't commended, it just isn't particularly liked. . . Genesis is just Gilgamesh rehashed, etc.) you may want to write a response.

If The Teaching Company, which does have some good courses, was as small as it was five years ago, I wouldn't mention it, but they are growing, and there should be a Catholic response to these lectures.

Best,
Peter

R.Sungenis: Peter, thank you for alerting us to The Teaching Company's problems. As it is, they are merely following the scholarly consensus on biblical studies which were initiated by the liberal Protestants in the 1800s, and it has never abated. So, to deal with The Teaching Company would be saying the same critique I've said against the liberal biblical scholarship in general.

As for CAI's dealings and critiques of others, although we have a lot of material against the liberal factions of Catholicism and Protestantism, we critique anything we sense is not in line with the dogmatic or authoritative teaching of the Catholic magisterium, and sometimes we even critique Catholic prelates when we sense that they themselves are not abiding by the Catholic magisterium. Basically, we are critical of extremes on both sides of the spectrum, whether they be Traditionalists or Liberals. We are also critical of some of the popular Catholic apologetics movements that consider themselves in the middle, since, as we see it, musch of their apologetic is superficial and unproven, as well as having a tendency toward liberalism and modernism.

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Question 63Your Answer on Aliens and UFOs, 3

I have to agree with Bob that many UFO indcidents were actually "Black Projects" that the UFO cover story allowed the government to plausibly deny.

The possibility -- almost IMHO non existent -- that these are extraterrestrial in origin also cannot be completely discounted. I do not believe this to be true for several reasons, but I think we have to keep an open mind.

The vast majority of UFO sightings have mundane explanations. A small percentage do not. The more sensational things like abductions and "close encounters of the third kind" are either frauds or delusional. The possibility of the demonic of course cannot be entirely eliminated either.

Art

R.Sungenis: Art, thanks for you insight. We will post this on our Q&A board for the benefit of our patrons. God be with you all.

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Question 62Your Answer on Aliens and UFOs, 2

Bob, perhaps UFOs and "aliens" are unrelated.

As a former practioner of black majick, I use to be quite familiar with the majick used behind the scenes of "alien" manifestations. (I say "use to" because it took me several months of prayer and fasting before God erased all memories inside my head of how to go about manipulating the occult).

Basically all majick is black majick. Nevertheless, only satanists and practioners of black majick acknowledge this fact. Wiccans, Newagers and practioners of "white" magic(k) deny the demonic origins of their "craft". While this is useful to practitioners of the dark majick because it allows the occult to reach a wider audience, the power of so-called "white" magic(k) is limited by the individual practioner's wish to "do good".

"Alien" manifestations allow the devil to manipulate practitioners of "white" magic(k) into darkening their "craft". The neophyte, skeptic and practitioner of "white" magic(k) would freak out at the sight of an undisguised demon or his conscience would rebel from the moral issues involved with summoning or manipulating demons. On the other hand, an "alien" is much more benign (as well as subtle in its evil). Thus with "aliens" the fictitious dichotamy between "white" and black is preserved.

What follows is just personal speculation on my part, but I suspect that this is why the "demons/aliens" take the form of "Greys". There is a "greying" of the magic(k)/majick involved as the practioner of white majic(k) is being more deeply seduced into the evil of the occult while maintaining the guise of good.

Unless God permits otherwise (such as when He wishes to test the saints), any approved sacramental of the Catholic Church, when presented with just an iota of faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ and an iota of love for His Blessed Mother, will send the "aliens" fleeing.

Pax Christi,
Pete Vere

R.Sungenis: Thanks, Pete. We will add this information to our Q&A board so that others may be enlighted.

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Question 61Your Answer on Aliens and UFOs

Bob,

In response to your following Q&A #55...

I have blogged the following.

Talk to any former occultist who has come to Christ. Aliens and UFOs are NOT part of some goverment conspiracy. They are manifestations of the demonic. This is why your local Newage bookstore probably devotes an entire section to aliens and UFOs.

Pax Christi,
Pete Vere

R.Sungenis: Pete, thanks for the added information. Although I welcome the possibility that "aliens" and UFOs are demonic in origin, I don't think that discounts the possibility that they are human in origin. It is a fact that so-called UFOs have been later identified as secret government projects. In fact, I'm familiar with some of the science behind these incidents, of which almost all of it you will not see on the CBS evening news.

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Question 60Confession Rebuttal

Sungenis: Rest assured that, if someone in 170 AD were introducing a new doctrine into the Church that was opposed to what was practiced previously, it would have been considered heresy.

Response: That's not necessarily so. If the Church was in apostasy, then new foreign elements would be accepted gladly.

R.Sungenis: You're just proving my point, since there is no indication from the Church Fathers and the ruling pope and bishops that the Church was in apostasy. Hypotheticals don't win arguments; yours included.

Sungenis: Most of the testimony is refuting those who were against the practice of confession to a priest, and thus we know that the Christians were, indeed, practicing confession long before 170 AD.

Response: No, you don't know that. You assume it. The fact is that there is no physical evidence prior to 170 AD.

R.Sungenis: Then you cut your own throat by the same knife. Is there any evidence of YOUR denomination before 170 AD? There isn't, so your denomination has no legitimacy.

Sungenis: Moreover, the Fathers in the 3rd and 4th century who write about confession state that they are following and reinforcing what the Church has always practiced.

Response: This is hearasy evidence that may be based on a church that was apostate to begin with.

R.Sungenis: Hearsay? Hardly. Go read their writings and find out. They all say they are following what was passed down to them.

Sungenis: The fact remains that the face value reading of Mt 16:18-19 and John 20:23 teaches that the apostles and their followers have the power to give absolution for sins.

Response: Those two texts say nothing about confession to a priest and receiving absolution. And they say nothing about "followers" receiving that authority. Had this been the actual teaching of the ancient Church, there would have been some mention of it prior to 170 AD.

R.Sungenis: You can't use as proof something you haven't proven, therefore, your argument that "if it wasn't written down it makes the practice illegitimate" is fallacious. As for the Mt 16:18-19 and John 20:23, you merely show that, having a free will, you can impose your own interpretation on a given passage. The question is, however, who is right: you or the Church that is 2000 years old and was promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven? I dare say it's not you.

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Question 59The Dimond Brothers

Bob,

Just read the Brothers Dimond most recent article which refuted your claims against the fact that vatican ii is a heretical council and therefore not Catholic.

You can read it here.

I've read your articles concerning the geocentric theory and have enjoyed them.

However in the matters of the Catholic faith you are misleading countless souls and leading them to their eternal destruction. Please read the article from Brother Dimond with open mind and prayerful heart.

It is difficult to admit when you are wrong (speaking from experience) but your eternal soul is at stake.

God bless,

Robert

R. Sungenis: Robert, please let God decide who will be saved and not saved. As for the Dimond Brothers, they are heretics and have placed themselves outside the Church. In case you are interested, I've already answered them in a lengthy response, which is here.

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Question 58Dr. Zugibe

Dear Mr Sungenis,

Questioner Remington Tonar might like to look at this.

and especially this.

I recommend he buy the book and trust scripture, 2000 years of tradition and Catholic art (re: sensus catholicus) rather than listen to the Father of Lies and his (unwitting) servants.

JMJ

Simon McDonaugh.

R. Sungenis: Simon, thank you for this website address. I've read the paper and it is very good. I am posting this for our patrons.

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Question 57Which is more powerful angels or saints?

Dear Robert,

Are the guardian angels more powerful than the patron saints in responding to our needs?

Thank you for your ministry as I have learnt so much from your site.

Mary Wood

R. Sungenis: Mary, since our patron saints are limited to prayer, while our guardian angels have spiritual mobility and experience in fighting the demonic forces, they would have more power in that respect. We can understand this when we do a study of the power of angels in Scripture. We have a long section on this topic in our Catholic Apologetics Study Bible under Matthew 18:10 in the Apologetics Commentary section.

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Question 56Sunday Obligation

Dear Robert,

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

Recently my wife and I woke up late and missed Mass at the Church we usually go to, which is at a convent where the Novus Ordo is said in Latin.

Later in the day we went to the local Church, which seems more protestant than the protestant churches, and I just couldn't take it. We walked out, and didn't go to Mass anywhere else.

I know that I was wrong, and I should have waited it out. But my question is this:

Would it be possible, if this happened again, to go to a Greek Orthodox Church to fulfill our Sunday obligation (not receiving communion). Here is why I ask, the comission Ecclesia Dei said it would fulfill our Sunday obligation to go to an SSPX Church in extreme necessity, however they are schismatic, as the orthodox are. Given that the greek orthodox liturgy is beautiful and valid, while the local Church is banal in the most extreme sense of the word, would that constitute the necessity to go to the Orthodox Church to fulfill our Sunday obligation? Or is the argument invalid by virtue of the fact the orthodox are heretical on top of being schismatic (Immaculate conception, Filioque, contraception, etc), while the SSPX are not heretics? Thank you for your answer. There is a Byzantine Ruthenian Church 2 hours away, but with the gas prices what they are here in california, thats not really viable. The greek orthodox church is 15 minutes away.

Thanks for your response,

in cordibus Iesu et Mariae,

Ryan

R. Sungenis: Ryan, I know of no Church ruling that would allow you to fulfill your Sunday obligation at a Greek Orthodox Church. The reason is that the split from them is almost a thousand years old and shows no signs of abating, and it is over doctrinal issues at the core of our respective beliefs. The SSPX's schism shows signs of waning, and it is not based on doctrinal issues, per se, but on the consecration of bishops without Vatican approval. Thus, the Vatican feels safe in allowing Catholics to partake of the SSPX's masses, since they are identical to what the Church herself approved in the Tridentine mass.

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Question 55Ghosts, Near-Death Experiences, UFOs and Dinosaurs

Dear Mr. Sungenis:

There are, by my reckoning, four types of phenomena which perplex orthodox Christians, Catholic and Protestant alike, and of which (to my knowledge) the Church has not provided any even tentative theological explanation in spite of the apparent abundance of (at least) anecdotal evidence for their genuineness. The four types of phenomena are:

1. Ghosts or ghostly apparitions
2. "life after life" experiences (you know, the tunnel of light, the immense sense of well-being, the "deceased" being told it is not his time yet and is "sent back", etc.)
3. UFOs (including the related phenomena of abductions, etc.)
4. Dinosaurs (based on the ostensively considerable fossil evidence).

While none of these is the sort thing that should cause any Christian to seriously doubt the Faith -- they're no more than lumps in the cushion, I suspect that, because they persist and there exists no official theological accounting of them, they may trouble the faith of some. Others, like me, are less troubled than annoyed by them, or, rather by our inability to give a satisfactory explanation for them.

As, I daresay, you have pondered these things (no doubt your children have asked you about them), would give me and your other readers the benefit of your reflections?

I am, with great respect,

Yours cordially,
R. Divozzo
Grand Rapids, MI

R. Sungenis: Mr. Divozzo, I think the safest bet is that there is at least some truth to each of the puzzling issues. Satan and his devils certainly have the power to create apparitions, of any type, and thus that would answer the "ghost" issue.

As for near death experiences, the human mind is a funny thing, so I don't put much stock into the experience being factual. Since we know our dreams can seem very real and are very vivid, it would seem to me that near death experiences fall into the same category - a creation of the human mind under duress. As it is known that "our whole life passes before our eyes" at the moment of death or near-death experiences, it is not unreasonable to surmise that "white lights" are seen by people's minds who feel they are worthy of heaven while demons and other frightening things are seen by people's minds who know they have not lived a good life.

As for UFO's, as a general rule, I don't discount the sightings, since they are so numerous and consistent, but I often discount the interpretations of the sightings. There is no extra-terrestrial life outside this earth. We even had one pope state so. As such, UFO's, I believe, are creations of various secret government projects either for the military, weather control, or some other such secret operation. All technological countries create such things, and they often don't care if it invades another country's territory. Seeing one is thus not an unusual event.

There is also the possibility that private science institutions may want to create the impression that there is, indeed, life on other planets so as to enhance modern science's push for evolution; and mankind not being a product of divine creation but merely one of many types of life forms that developed by chance over billions of years. UFO's are the perfect way to stimulate such thinking, including the so-called "abductions."

As for dinosaurs, there really isn't much of a problem. If we can have creatures as big as the Blue Whale, we can certainly have land animals that are as big. The excavations of dinosaur tracks and bones would certainly vouch for their existence. In fact, scientists from our Kolbe Center have found dinosaur tracks alongside of human footprints, or in beds that are separated

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Question 54Dual Prophecies in Scripture

Thank You! I do use the Douay version. I just consulted Knox for reference. Does not Matt. 29-31 have a dual reference? 70 A.D. and the end of the world? Here is a quote from Bossuet!

Bishop Bossuet in his book: “Discourse on Universal History” A.D. 1681 says: “Jerusalem was the symbol of the Church and of Heaven, where God makes Himself visible to His children. For this reason the prophets frequently join in the same discourse matters concerning Jerusalem with those concerning the Church and heavenly glory. This is one of the secrets of the prophecies and one of the keys to their meaning. But Jerusalem cast off and ungrateful toward its Savior, was to be the image of Hell. Its perfidious inhabitants were to represent the damned; and the terrible judgment which Jesus Christ was to bring upon them was an image of the judgment He shall bring upon the whole world, when at the end of time he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. It is a custom in the scriptures, and one of the means used for imprinting mysteries upon the mind, to interweave symbol with truth for our instruction. Thus our Lord has interwoven the history of Jerusalem destroyed with that of the end of the world. Pg.222

PAX

Mark

R. Sungenis: Mark, yes, indeed. We cover the issue of dual prophecies in our Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, Matthew, Vol. 1. The Fathers and Medievals also ascribed to it. Matthew 24 would be one such text.

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Question 531 Thess 4:17

God Bless:

As I work through 1 Thess. 4:15-17 I was wondering based on the Latin and Greek does the grammar demand that the events in verse 17 be simultaneous with the catching up of the dead in verse 16? Paul uses in Greek the word for next not “tote” for at that time. The Latin is the same. The Knox translation seems to leave open the idea of these events being separate in time. Maybe what we should see in this text is at the parousia of 70 A.D. the Old Testament saints Hebrew 11 were ushered into the Church Triumphant and the living will join them in the same place throughout the messianic age until the end when we all share in the resurrection of the body? So that the point is that death in the messianic kingdom takes on a different aspect than before 70- A.D. We will always be with the Lord where in a certain sense before the New Cov. We were not with him in the same way. Just wondering! My limited use of Greek and Latin keeps me from parsing it totally. It appears that verse 17 does not demand a simultaneous action?

PAX

R. Sungenis: Mark, the Greek TOTE is merely saying that there is a sequence of two events. And don't pay attention to Knox's translation. It is one of the worst translations of the Bible I think I have ever seen, and I'm ashamed of the fact that it comes from a Catholic priest. Knox was the first paraphraser long before the Protestants got into the act.

In any case, the first event is the resurrection from the dead, the second is the rapture of the living saints. There is no interlude between the two events. Moreover, the context of the passage, which starts in 1 Thess 3:13 with the Second Coming, transpires until 5:11 with the same mention of the Parousia, and which is picked up again in 2 Thess 1:5-10 with even more detail about the Second Coming. This context has nothing to do with 70 AD. We know this also because all the other passages that speak of the same events show that the resurrection and rapture will occur at the same time, which is the "last day" of this world's existense (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 12:48; Mt 24:29-31).

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Question 52Announcement of the coming of the false Messiah

HI Robert

So even the Kabbalahs are in sync with the last popes of St Malachy. Here is an interesting article to read, to keep up with what the Antichrist is going to do.

R. Sungenis: Indeed. And you can expect a lot more in the coming years. It only makes sense that the Antichrist, whoever he turns out to be, will come from Jewry, since it has been the most formidable antagonist to Christianity for the last 2000 years. The Catholic Encyclopedias from the early 20th century state that the Antichrist will come from the Jews, and that a Temple for him will be built in Jerusalem.

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Question 51Re: Confession

Thank you for your response. If confessing sins to a priest is necessary for salvation, why is there no mention of it untill 170 AD? It appears to me that this practice is man-made and has absolutely no basis in Scripture or ancient apostolic tradition.

Al

R. Sungenis: The basis for Catholic dogma and practice is not necessarily whether it was "written down," rather, it is based on what the Church practiced in real life. The "writing" of the practice may be decades or centuries after the practice has been established.

Rest assured that, if someone in 170 AD were introducing a new doctrine into the Church that was opposed to what was practiced previously, it would have been considered heresy. Most of the testimony is refuting those who were against the practice of confession to a priest, and thus we know that the Christians were, indeed, practicing confession long before 170 AD. Moreover, the Fathers in the 3rd and 4th century who write about confession state that they are following and reinforcing what the Church has always practiced.

The fact remains that the face value reading of Mt 16:18-19 and John 20:23 teaches that the apostles and their followers have the power to give absolution for sins.

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Question 50Bravo!

Dear Sir,

Finally! I have found a Catholic site that is not afraid to write the truth about the war in Iraq and Israel's part in it. I have searched and searched for a Catholic Web site or forum that does not parrot the neo-con/Christian-Zionist deluded point of view but looks at it from an objective stand. I simply don't understand what has taken possession of so many Catholics. I am a conservative and former staunch Republican who saw the light very soon after the 9/11 attacks when I heard Bush's intentions to plow through this world.

Thank you for your wonderful Web site and for my discovery of "The Remnant" through your link.

Sincerely,
Yolanda Flanagan

R. Sungenis: Yolanda, thank you for your commendation! It is our mission to uncover the truth for our patrons, and CAI is only here for the truth. We don't affiliate ourselves with anyone and are not on anyone's payroll and don't receive any foundation or grant money. Therefore we are free to tell it like it is without someone looking over our shoulder. We have more articles on Iraq and the Jewish connection coming. Stay tuned.

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Question 49Genesis flood: Local or Global?

Hi Robert,

What do think of this article? You might want to keep it in the archives if you are busy.

Matthew

R. Sungenis: Matthew, I've already read it. I think Mackey is wrong. He first has to prove the river beds would be obliterated by a global flood. There is no such proof. Water in the deepest parts of the flood would actually preserve the river beds, since there is no motion in water that deep. Also, the Genesis account, read at face value, clearly refers to a global flood. Local floods do not cover mountains, especially those the size of Ararat.

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Question 48Anne Catherine again

Mr. Sungenis,

Perhaps I wasn't clear in my writing to you about Anne Catherine's vision of the five vacant sees. I understand that Anne Catherine isn't an authority on declaring that the last five popes were anti-popes. I assume that would be task that only a council of Bishops or another Pope would have the power to do. However, something is true whether it has been declared or not. A man has to be a heretic BEFORE he is declared one. As I said before, when the Church regains her sanity she will most likely declare those five popes heretics because they were. And this could be what she is seeing in her vision. Furthermore, you stated that she could be referring to any of the 300+ Bishoprics around the world, but then that would include the possiblity of the bishop of Rome wouldn't it?

Soldier of Christ,
Jaime Soria

R. Sungenis: No, Jaime. Forget about it. Emmerich's dream was local. It had nothing to do with popes. Moreover, we are not to make any conclusions based on unapproved private revelations. In fact, some of Emmerich's revelations were false.

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Question 47Relationships/Friendships with Protestants

Mr. Sungenis,

Our walk as Christians can be a lonely walk at times. As a Catholic I find it hard to find a group of likeminded people out there (especially my age) who would like to get together to sing spiritual Psalms together. All of my Catholic friends are scattered throughout America and Europe. But I know that there are many Protestant people just around my street corner who meet regularly to seek the Lord. I used to be a Protestant, so I know how exciting it is to be in the presence of people who are on fire for the Lord. There is even a group of Protestants who are organizing themselves to get together in my neighborhood, for the purpose of praising Jesus and having fellowship. Sometimes I wonder. Which is worse...hanging out God-fearing non-Christians, hanging out with luke warm Catholics or hanging out with Protestants?

I know that as a Catholic, and a traditionally minded one at that, I am limited in what I can and cannot do with Protestants. I think I remember reading Pius XI (?) encyclical on ecumenism. In it he said that we shouldn't worship with Protestants. So here is my question, as a Catholic, what is allowed me? Can I go to non-Sunday gatherings such as praise and worship with Protestants, so long as I make it clear where I stand and so long as I defend my Faith if it is slighted? I know that Protestants have in their religion some of the "means" for salvation. Could I not join with them in celebrating these means (such as the Bible)?

Thank you for your great work,

John

R. Sungenis: I know it is tempting to sing with the Protestants. They know this, too. It is precisely how they tempt Catholics to leave the Catholic religion. They will also become your "best friends," always being at your disposal. But the thin veneer of their songs becomes apparent as soon as you go a few inches deeper into the meaning of those songs. Most of those songs are superficial. When you begin talking about the pope, Mary, confession, baptism, tradition, the Atonement, purgatory, etc., then you will see that the only reason they concentrate on good singing is that they don't have anything else of substance to their religion. They concentrate on what they do best. But singing praises to God must have the substance of theology behind it, otherwise it is a song of our own making. Unless you were to go there with the express intention of giving them the truth of the Catholic Church, I could never advise you to go. Vatican II has given this as our guideline.

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Question 46The Perfect tense in John 20:23 regarding Confession

Hi. I came across an anti-catholic book which says that Catholic don't have justification in John 20:23 to back up their claims for confession to a priest. The reason is that the verbs "you forgive" and "you retain" are in the aorist tense, while the verbs "are forgiven" and "are retained" are in the perfect, which means they have been completed in the past, but their effects continue into the present. Therefore, the apostles were only given the authority to declare that a person was forgiven based on their faith in Christ.

Could you clarify this? It does indeed seem that the use of the perfect tense does indicate a previously completed action, even before the performance of the aorist verbs, seemingly indicating that the apostles' action was merely to declare something already God did, rather than performing any kind of sacramental action. What's the real take here?

R. Sungenis: This is another instance of Protestants trying to squeeze water from a rock by using Greek. You can't separate tenses in a Greek sentence and make distinct conclusions based on those tenses.

The use of the perfect tense has to be related to the use of the aorist tense in the same sentence. As such, the aorist tense governs the perfect tense and set its parameters.

First, the aorist tense is employed so as to give an immediated effect to the apostles' actions. Greek does this when it wants to emphasize that a person's actions are without equivocation. The closest thing we have in English to this usage is when we say in colloquial speech: "I want this done yesterday." "Yesterday," of course, is in the past tense, and we are using the past tense to reinforce our intentions.

In John 20:23, the perfect tense is then employed after the aorist tense to reinforce the power of the aorist. Since the perfect tense refers to an action in the past with continuing effects, it is playing off the past tense of the aorist and saying, in effect, "once you forgive their sins, those sins, from that point onward, HAVE BEEN forgiven, and will continue in that forgiven state indefinitly. The words "HAVE BEEN" represent the perfect tense in Greek.

Here the perfect tense begins its "HAVE BEEN" effect AT THE POINT the aorist begins. The Protestants are trying to say that the perfect tense begins its effect BEFORE the aorist begins, but that is not possible in the Greek language.

The application of the perfect tense comes after the aorist, since the aorist takes the superior position in the sentence. Hence, the only action affecting the perfect tense is the aorist tense, and the aorist tense is an action done by the apostles. The Protestants are trying to claim that the perfect tense is independent of the aorist, and therefore they think this allows them to attribute the perfect tense to an outside entity not mentioned in the sentence without the mediary of the apostles. But this is simply bad Greek grammar. Tenses do not act independently of one another, especially when they are in the same sentence.

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Question 45Christ dying of old age

Robert, I saw your comment on your Q&A board that Christ would have died of old age. I found this in the Catholic Encyclopedia with a cite to Augustine that backs you up:

Weaknesses due to old age are common to mankind. Had Christ lived to an old age, He would have suffered such weaknesses just as He suffered the weaknesses that are common to infancy. Death from old age would have come to Jesus, had He not been violently put to death (see St. Augustine, " De Peccat.", II, 29; P. L., XLIV, 180). The reasonableness of these bodily imperfections in Christ is clear from the fact that He assumed human nature so as to satisfy for that nature's sin.

However, I am having difficulty with the proposition that old age would have automatically taken Christ's life without His permission. If the divine nature was perfectly united to the human nature (in the hypostatic union), then it seems to me that Christ would have had to will to die of old age; that it would not have happened automatically. Do you agree? Is there any patristic commentary on this?

John

R. Sungenis: John, I think Christ already gave that permission when Philippians says that he "emptied himself," and the other language associated with that "emptying" (Phil 2:6-8). As Jesus also said in John 10:18, no one takes his life, rather, he is the one who volunteered to lay it down. As I see it, if he submitted himself to the corruptions of this world in the flesh, such that a blood loss took his life, he would have had to sustain a death at old age as well when the body parts break down. Also, Scripture teaches that Christ was like us in every way except sin. By the way, I've never investigated what more the patristics have said on this.

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Question 44Apostolic Succession and Confession -- Earliest References

Hi, I have two questions for you:

1. Do you know the earliest reference and mention of "apostolic succession"?

2. What is the earliest appearance in Church history of confessing sins to a priest?

Thank you.

Al

R. Sungenis: Al, the phrase "apostolic succession" is a technical term applied to what transpired in the first century as the apostles transferred their power to the bishops. Besides the biblical passages of 1Tm 3:1-10; 4:14; 5:17-18; 2Tm 4:1-2, the earliest non-biblical reference is probably Clement of Rome in 80 AD:

"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier.... Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry." (Epistle to the Corinthians 42:4-5, 44:1-3 [A.D. 80]).

As for the earliest references to confession, we have the following:

Dionysius of Corinth (d. 17O) is probably the earliest. Against Marcion, he taught that Christ left to the Church the power of forgiving sins, but also that there is no sin that would be excluded from such forgiveness. Eusebius quotes him as saying "And writing to the Church which is in Amastris, together with those in Pontus, he commands them to receive those who come back after any fall, whether it be delinquency or heresy" (Church History, IV, xxiii).

Then there are the more numerous references, such as Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom, et al, which show that these Fathers were following the Tradition handed down to them. Obviously, if they were teaching a new doctrine, they would have been considered heretics.

St. Augustine: "Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of God has power to forgive all sins" (De agon. Christ., iii).

St. Ambrose, in refuting the Novatians who "professed to show reverence for the Lord by reserving to Him alone the power of forgiving sins. Greater wrong could not be done than what they do in seeking to rescind His commands and fling back the office He bestowed...The Church obeys Him in both respects, by binding sin and by loosing it; for the Lord willed that for both the power should be equal" (De poenit., I, ii,6).

St. John Chrysostom sqys that the priest's power to forgive sins "penetrates to the soul and reaches up to heaven..It were manifest folly to condemn so great a power without which we can neither obtain heaven nor come to the fulfillment of the promises....Not only when they (the priests) regenerate us (baptism), but also after our new birth, they can forgive us our sins" (De sacred., III, 5 sq.).

St. Athanasius: "As the man whom the priest baptizes is enlightened by the grace of the Holy Ghost, so does he who in penance confesses his sins, receive through the priest forgiveness in virtue of the grace of Christ" (Frag. contra Novat. in P. G., XXVI, 1315).

St. Cyprian: "Let each confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession can be received, while satisfaction and the forgiveness granted by the priests is acceptable to God" (De lapsis, c, xxix).

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Question 43Question about Sedevacanists

I just started reading your recent article by Rev. Dominique Boulet, sspx, so it's possible my question is addressed in it; however, I thought I'd run it by you in the meantime.

For the Sedevacanists, is there a single event that would make them re-join the Catholic Church? I find myself pretty confused by the whole situation. Do they simply wait until a pope comes along that they agree with? Are they waiting for someone to "un-do" whatever they feel was done to make them leave in the first place?

Thanks!

R. Sungenis: I'm sure the sedevacantists have thought about this problem, but they don't have an easy answer. The only way it could be re-established is through a divine intrusion.

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Question 42Scapulars

What is your opinion on Scapulars? Do any of you or your families wear them? If so, which ones? Does there need to be a specific ceremony performed involving the scapular? How young should children be when/if they start wearing a scapular? Are all the indulgences involved (433 daily sounds like a whole lot) officially granted by the Church?

R. Sungenis: Vince, the Brown scapular is for Catholics only; the Green scapular is for non-Catholics. Yes, our family wears them. Those who wear a scapular should be enrolled in the Scapular Society (You can find it on the Internet) in order to get the Indulgences. The greatest promise through wearing the scapular is the grace of final perserverence. Children can wear them, but it is advised not to let toddlers wear them since they may choke. Hang the scapular in their room or pin a scapular medal to their clothes.

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Question 41Can we be cremated?

Dear Robert,

This is my second e-mail for the same subject as I am not sure if you have answered my first e-mail. My apologie if you did. My name is Fredy, and I live in Jakarta-Indonesia. Your web is really great. I learn a lot from it. I have two questions for you.

1. If I want to read English Bible, which version that you recommend?

2. Last year, my girlfriend has passed away and she was cremated. In my country, this is allowed by Catholic church as we are Chinese descendant. What do you think?

Best regards,

Fredy

R. Sungenis: Fredy, I would recommend either the Douay-Rheims version, or, if you don't like the Elizabethan English, the RSV Catholic edition is about the next best thing.

As for cremation, we covered this in our of our QA's this year. I would suggest you search in our archives for it. Traditionally, cremation was not allowed. It was permitted only in extenuating circumstances, and that is the general understanding even today. It is not to be a regular practice.

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Question 40Struggling Catholic with questions....

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

I have just completed reading your book "Not by Faith Alone". I also purchased some of your tapes from your website on this same subject. Your conversion story seems to be similar to my situation so I was hoping to get some advice and guidance from you on some important doctrinal issues that I have been struggling with. I'd like to start by giving you a brief outline of my background so you can better understand my dilemma.

I am 32 years old and grew up in a Catholic family. My parents are both good Catholics that attend mass every Sunday. My father and mother both were great examples that have lived out their faith by their actions. I have always been on the rebellious side and that was reflected in the way I lived my life. Through high school and college I partied to the extreme and caroused quite a bit. All the while fully knowing deep down that the life of sin I was living kept me separated from God and the guilt began to build up until finally I believe that God broke me down in order to build me back up again.

Even though I grew up Catholic, I never took CCD seriously or ever really read the Bible other than knowing all the stories of the Bible that we as children are all taught when we are young. I have never doubted the existence of God or anything like that, but I was definitely a nominal Catholic. I believed in God, but didn't practice the faith I was brought up in other than on Sundays. Day to day I was a sinner and fairly unrepentant. ( I might confess to God when I rarely prayed, but continued on in my sin even though I knew it was wrong deep down).

Finally about 4 years ago I decided that enough was enough and I needed to know God. Since then, I have thrown myself into a bible study with some of my closest friends (all of us from different denominations) and trying to learn the truths about God. Over the last 4 years I have come so far in my Christian walk. The problem was... I noticed that all that I was learning was from the reformed position. My story is similar to yours in that through the Word of God I became closer to God and got to know him more than ever before. Growing up Catholic, reading the Bible was never stressed. I think that this is a great disservice that the church does to it's laity. All people should read the Bible.

Anyway, after hearing the Protestant position for 4 years and all the doubts that it put into my mind about the Catholic Church, I felt it was time to get the Catholic perspective and see where the journey leads me. I really enjoyed your book and tapes, but I have many more questions that I need answers to. If you have some time to correspond with me it would be greatly appreciated. I really need to know where the following doctrines come from....

Assumption of Mary

Immaculate Conception

Purgatory

Praying to the saints & Mary , etc.

Can't we confess directly to God?? Do we really need a priest as an intermediary???

Plus, why did the Church change the structure of the ten commandments sliding the commandment about idolatry under the 1st commandment??

Please tell me that we only "pray to God" and not to Mary , the saints anyone else. Isn't worship reserved only for the Lord???

Why does there seem to be such a pre-occupation with Mary and the Saints???

I, like you was born and raised Catholic. I, like you had a life altering experience with the Bible. I think your arguments for Justification are convincing to say the least. That is a great start. Heck, my wife even converted to Catholicism before we got married and is very happy to be Catholic. The problem is that I think most Catholics are nominal Catholics and never give these issues much thought. I can't learn enough and love leering about the things of God.

Thanks for your time. I am sure you are very busy, but these issues are of the utmost importance to a person trying to find their way to the truth. All I care about in the end is the truth. My aim is to please God.

Yours in Christ,

-Bob

R. Sungenis: Bob, I understand your situation. Yes, most Catholics are nominal, but that is to be expected. Religion always works that way. In Israel of the Old Testament there was only a remnant of true believers.

Regarding the Bible, yes, all people should read it, but all people should also be cautioned that they must understand what they read before they become a one-man religion with their own interpretation, which has happened in Protestantism countless times. The Church is our authority on what the interpretation of Scripture should be, at least in the foundations of theology. We cannot have people all giving their own ideas, reinventing the wheel of theology at their own whim. Authority is paramount in religion, but putting oneself under authority is one of the hardest things for men to do. That is what the temptation of the Garden of Eden was all about.

As for your specific questions, on our site is an essay I wrote on the Assumption of Mary contra James White.

As for the Immaculate Conception and Purgatory I have attached two files from our Internet Bible Study which covers those topics.

As for Praying to the saints & Mary, we have a tape by that title that you can order from us for $6.00.

As for needing a priest as an intermediary, yes, at least for mortal sins, since by mortal sin we have been divested of sanctifying grace, and the only way to get it back is through the sacraments, which can only be administered by a priest. Again, this is a place where Bible interpretation as governed by the authority of the Church is so important. John 20:23 says that the apostles (and their ordained followers) have the power to forgive sin as mediators of God. Now, the question is: do we interpret this literally or non-literally. The Catholic Church has said for 2000 years that it is to be interpreted literally, and that is our authority. Those who go against this interpretation are protestors, and thus the word "Protestant." Each of us has to make our decision. Are we going to accept the Catholic Church's interpretation or are we going to adopt our own? I can't think of a reason in the world to reject the Church's interpretation, since it was the Church to whom Christ gave the ultimate authority (Mt 16:18-19; Acts 15:1-12).

God be with you.

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Question 39Inherited Guilt

I agree with you that we inherit the guilt of original sin. It has been proven to me by scripture and from various theologians and also from the Council of Trent. How is it that certain apologists (Catholic Answers and EWTN) these days deny this concept? They told me that we inherit the consequences of original sin and not the guilt. I don't believe them. What is going on?

R. Sungenis: Who knows? EWTN has become a grab bag of Catholic ideas. Much of the theology is superficial. Although EWTN portrays a connection with Tradition, most of the theology being taught is modernistic, and they accept much of the bad theology that the liberal prelates have been teaching. EWTN has, more or less, also joined the NeoCon chorus of the Bush administration. Chris Ferrara has written a book on the inside workings of EWTN which should be out shortly.

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Question 38Seminars

Dear CAI,

Does Mr Sungenis have any seminars in the Central Ohio area in the near-by future.I really enjoy his work and would like to go to one of his seminars. Also, where can I find a list of places he will be speaking.

Thanks,
Joe Colopy

R. Sungenis: Joe, Robert does not have any seminars planned in Ohio. His next speaking engagement is in the Harrisburg, PA area on September 27. Let us know if you would like to attend. The topics will be on the Mass and Justification.

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Question 37Servile work and the Lord's Day

know you've probably answered this question before, but I'm still confused about what the definition of "servile work" is that we must abstain from on Sundays. Specifically, is it licit to engage in activities of a recreational nature which involve others doing paid work (ie it's THEIR servile job), such as attending a movie theatre, professional sporting event or a restaurant or cafe. And what about other things like filling up your car with petrol so you can drive around on a Sunday (assuming you didn't plan properly and fill up before Sunday). What about even listening to the radio or watching TV? Both of those things involve others working on a Sunday to provide you with that enjoyment. I mean I understand that necessary things to enable society to function nowadays and also to save lives are permitted, such as power stations and hospitals and perhaps public transport. But where do you draw the line? How strict must one be in order to follow God's commandment? If could answer the points above specifically about movies, eating out, sport, radio/TV and public transport that would be good, because in reality those are the sorts of questions that come up in my conscience every Sunday!

Also, on a Holy Day of Obligation (of which there are only 2 left in my country!!), must we also abstain from servile work as well as attend Mass? What if your employer won't let you not work?

Thanks and God Bless,

Steve
(from Australia)

p.s. It may not be in our lifetime, but I think one day you'll be declared a Doctor of the Church.
p.p.s. I hope using the Internet and possibly requiring others to work because of one's ISP is not a sin...since today is Sunday after all?!
p.p.p.s. I'll lift you and your family up in the Rosary I will pray today...you're doing a very blessed thing in your apologetics work and I know you need all the spiritual help you can get.

R. Sungenis: Steve, thank you for the commendations! I only wish I live up to them.

Regarding sevile work and where one "draws the line," we don't have such a line drawn for us by the Church, and purposely so. The new Sabbath is to be done voluntarily, out of love and respect for God and our fellow man. We do not live under the Law any longer. We live under the Spirit. As such, the Law is a guide for us but not a strict regimen as it was in the Old Testament. Hence, we have a lot of leeway in what we do on the Lord's day. The Spirit, however, leads us to conform every action to the honor of God, and thus we are to do things that focus on God and not on worldly interests. We should have a worshipful frame of mind, and a willingness to do good deeds to our neighbor. In essence, we are not to work or have others work unless the work is necessary. Everything we need to do which requires work should be done on the six other days of the week, otherwise, our mind will not be able to focus on God and neighbor. Moreover, the Lord's day is a day of rest, so our bodily activity should be limited. This will prepare us for the next six days in which we will be required to work. In my opinion, this would eliminate sporting events, shopping, etc. It is the world that wants to be entertained by worldly things on Sunday, but Christian are to be different. We all may have different degrees of how we honor the Lord's Day, but the basic principles of worship and rest should be included in everyone's practice.

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Question 36Anne Catherine Emmerich's vision of the vacant sees

Hello Mr. Sungenis (I would please like Mr. Sungenis's opinion on this one, Thanks for answering my questions. I was reading my book on revelation to Anne Catherine Emmerich and came across something, well... you'll see (unless you've already read it). In these pages, which I have scanned and sent you, it talks about the five VACANT SEES! Could it be John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI? It sounds like those pages were tailor made for them! I have read all your articles refuting Sedevacantism, as well as Chris Ferreras, Fr. Gruners. I am not a Sedevacatist, but sometimes I do have my doubts, what with all the madness emminating from Rome. I have already written two you about the theory of Sedevacatism before and you pretty much told me that it all boils down to the fact that we don't have the authority to declare a pope a heretic. Even though it is pretty evident that Most, probably all these men were and are heretics. Could you read these pages and tell me what you think?

Soldier in Christ,
Jaime Soria

R. Sungenis: Jaime, I'm sorry, but that has nothing to do with our present popes. You must understand that the only one who has the authority to declare the see vacant is the Church herself. Neither Anne C. Emmerich nor any other visionary has any authority whatsoever in the Church. That is why the Church says we are not bound to their visions. Only when the Church authenticates a vision does he hold any authority in our thinking. Moreover, the "five vacant sees" seen by "the Pilgrim" in her vision could refer to any see, including any of the 3000 bishopricks in the world. Emmerich's concern was local, not universal. That is why she speaks of "First Communion," since the vacancies were affecting the distribution of communion.

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Question 35Not By Love Alone

Thanks for the quick response! BTW, do you have any estimate as to when NOT BY LOVE ALONE might be out? In my correct in understanding that this will be your doctoral dissertation, and, if so, does that mean it will be available through the company that handles such dissertations?

- Richard

P.S. One last thing: would you recommend THE SALVATION CONTROVERSY by Jimmy Akin (that is, would you recommend the book, regardless of your feelings concerning the author)?

R. Sungenis: Not by Love Alone was canceled. My doctoral dissertation is on Galileo. As for Jimmy Akin's book, sure, I would recommend it.

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Question 34Atonement

Mr. Sungenis,

I've greatly appreciated reading your explication of Christ's atoning sacrifice with regard to Adam's original sin and the necessity of preserving the honor of the Father. However, I'm unclear about the relationship between our personal sins and Christ's sacrifice. How does God view our sins from the perspective of the cross? Was Christ's sacrifice made with our sins in mind? God bless you and your wonderful work.

Andrew

R. Sungenis: The Cross allows God to subside his wrath and to look at us with grace. Thus, God is as a father to us. We are his sons and daughters. How does a father look at his children? With loving compassion. If they sin, he gently corrects them and disciplines them. If they persist in sin, he will give them all the patience a father can give in order for them to repent. As good children, we will never take advantage of our Father's kindness. But if we do take advantage of him, as a last resort, when there is no hope of us turning away, will the Father disown us, and that is when we die in unrepentant mortal sin.

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Question 33Evolution

I am a hospital pharmacist. My academic backround is in chemistry. I took all the advanced undergrad science courses at an excellent private university as well as those offered by UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy. I have also followed the evolution/creation controversy since I was an undergrad in college. I was first struck by how creationists such as Duane Gish (who spoke at our university) quoted evolutionist works for some of their strongest critiques. Intrigued, I did some reading and discovered how meagre the evidence for evolution is (unless one is a convinced evolutionist already!) Now that I am no longer a spring chicken, I realize that I should not have been surprised. The world is ruled by lies and delusions wherever one looks. Oremus!

R. Sungenis: Wonderful. Keep up the good work!

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Question 32Wages of sin

If the wages of sin is death, then why did Mary die?

R. Sungenis: First, we don't know whether Mary died. Pius XII left that question unanswered in his 1950 dogma. Second, Jesus would have died also, if he hadn't gone to the cross. He would have died of old age. The Atonement of Christ at the Cross did not provide for the salvation of our bodies at the time Christ died. At that time, it only provided for the salvation of our souls (Eph 2:5-6; Ap 20:4; 6:9-10). The salvation of our bodies will not be accomplished until Christ returns (John 6:39-40, 44; 5:28-29; 1 Cor 15:51f). Thus, anyone who is human prior to the Second Coming, will die, unless God makes a special provision for them. Such was done in the case of Elijah and Enoch, and possibly Moses, so Mary would not have been the first.

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Question 31Important Question about the Timing of Baptism

Dear CAI,

I have an inbound baby due in about a month, and I have a dilemma regarding the Baptism. I would like my child to be baptized as soon as possible, but my soonest available date at my local parish (which is Novos Ordo, FYI) is in January of 2006, a good 3 months from the due date. My wife and I are very involved with our local parish, and while I am seeking a Tridentine Mass somewhere in the area that we can start attending, we want to continue to be active in our local parish. I'm not sure what the correct thing to do is. Is it acceptable to wait that long? I would keep Holy Water on my person at all times, just in case. Or do I have the obligation to seek another parish that will baptize our child sooner? I know Canon Law says the child should be baptized within weeks, but my local parish is basically saying that it's not a big deal. I may be paranoid, since I wasn't able to be baptized until I was about 5 years old, but I figure this is important enough that I should err on the side of caution.

Thank you for your help! God be with you all!
Vince

R. Sungenis: If you and your family were to get into an auto accident and die and your baby wasn't baptized.... I don't think I need to finish the rest of that sentence. Get it done as soon as possible.

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Question 30VeggieTales?

Dear CAI,

Do any of you have an opinion regarding VeggieTales? Do you recommend it or think Catholics should avoid it? I have not seen all the episodes, but the few that I have seen seemed tame enough. They mostly recounted stories from the Old Testament or Parables without delving into any specific doctrine or theology (like Justificaiton or Atonement or whatnot). From what I can tell they preach Moral Virtue and God's Love. Could they be potentially dangerous for children? Or are they good to go?

Thanks again for your help. God be with you.

Vince

R. Sungenis: Vince, if you like to watch talking vegetables, it's harmless. You may get a few Protestant ideas in the mix, since those who created it are Protestant.

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Question 29God cannot do evil to destroy evil?

Dear CAI,

You said, in Q&A response to September's Question 17:

"God cannot do evil to destroy the devil or wicked men. Everything God does must be holy, righteous with no deception. God must destroy evil by doing good, and do it in such a way that he preserves his honor as a divine being. It is indeed a difficult task. But since God's intellect is infinite, and he knows all the thoughts and plans of his enemy before they occur, he is always many steps ahead of the devil, and thus he will win in the end. "

Could you clear up the part about not destroying wicked men? It seems that God did this multiple times in the Old Testament from the Global Deluge to the destruction of Soddom and Gomorrah and the Plagues against Pharaoh and several times with the Israelites. It even says in various places in the Bible that God plans on doing evil or repents of doing evil to men (a quick example that comes to mind is Jer 25:29 or Jer 26:3).

How does God smiting the excessively evil with his wrath coincide with what you said concerning God not destroying the devil or wicked men? Also, while I fully understand how God does not perform evil, how is one to understand the wording of passages like Jer 26:3? Is God's destruction of wicked men evil or divinely just?

Thank you for helping me grow and understand my Faith.

God Bless and Protect You All,
Vince

R. Sungenis: Vince, when Scripture uses the term "evil" in reference to God it is speaking about calamity upon wicked men. It is similar to God's wrath.

As for God destroying wicked men, it is righteous to do so, and thus it is good. The only thing God must also do is destroy wicked men when it is proper to do so. Anytime prior to the proper time would be unjust.

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Question 28Matatics

Mr. Sungenis:

In your answer about the debate that you and Gerry Matatics were going to have, you said, "Mr. Matatics is now more or less out of commission."

This sounds ominous. What does it mean? Is he sick or has his ministry folded? I see that nothing has changed at his web site since June. What is really going on? I was looking forward to your likely victory.

Gene C.
Loma Linda, CA

R. Sungenis: Gene, I don't really know anymore than you do, except that Mr. Matatics has canceled all his 2005 engagements. What he is presently doing, I couldn't tell you.

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Question 27Geocentricity

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

I'm interested in Geocentricity. I found your website after reading some of your work on another website about Geocentricity. I was surprised that I had already bought your book "Not by Faith Alone" but didn't know you also believed in Geocentricity. In the material I read you wrote that there was a study done at Cal Tech about 25 years ago on all the known gravitational forces in the universe and that it found that Earth was located in the one place were all these forces cancel each other out. Do you know where that report was published and how I could find it?

Sincerely,
Thomas Canfield

R. Sungenis: Thomas, all that information will be in our book Galileo Was Wrong. We have about half a dozen pages on this very issue. The book should be out in a few months. I hope you can hold on until then.

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Question 26Critical remarks

On a separate note: I had to clear this up. There is another website or blog out there that was attacking your beliefs, it was a few years ago but was talking about your alleged anti-Semitism in response to I believe some Catholic hierarchy hinting at the Jews having their own covenant with God. I emailed this person (I forget his name, but claims to be a former friend) saying that I have never read anything hinting at that in any of your work. But he said he doesn’t know of your current stance. But this website is still up calling for a “boycott” of your site and organization. Could you, briefly perhaps (I don’t want you to waste your time), clarify what all this is about?

I am currently leading a Bible Study for the Youth in the book of Matthew and have found that your Study Bible gives a wealth of information. We had a priest come by and stay after Mass, and sadly, I don’t think he was sure exactly how to help explain the text.

Thank you for all your hard work.

God Bless,
Laurence

R. Sungenis: The person you are referring to is John Betts. He seems to have made up his own rule that no one can say anything critical of the Jewish people and in particular, Zionism. But since I did beginning three years ago, and will continue to do so, Betts has waged a one-man campaign to boycott me and CAI. Unfortunately for Mr. Betts and my other critics who accuse me of "anti-semitism," they have only given us more publicity and exposed more people to the truth. Our website is registering over half a million hits per month, and we were close to a million in April of this year.

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Question 25Does Vatican II contradict Tradition?

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

I apologize for not treating you with the respect that you are deserving of.

Let me be clear in my questions. Since you fully accept VII, you must also fully accept:

1) That heretics "are brought up in the faith of Christ" Ecum, P3.

2) That heretics are "justified by faith in baptism" ibid

even though:

A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed St. Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?" –Liberalism and Religious Indifference; Pope Gregory XVI; P. 13

R. Sungenis: The Church has always held that Baptism works ex opere operato, that is, in and of itself does it work in administering the cleansing of sin. As such, anyone to whom it is properly applied receives the gift of justification, and that includes Catholics and non-Catholics. What the non-Catholic is to be taught after his Baptism is that he must formally join the Catholic Church. If he refuses, and knows what he is doing, THEN he becomes a "heretic" or "schismatic." Gregory is not talking about Baptism's ex opere operato, but, as St. Augustine says, about "not living from the pot," which refers to the schismatic remaining in his schism long after he has been Baptized.

3) That “there have been deficiencies … in the way that Church teaching has been formulated” ibid, P. 6

Even though:

Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authorities. –On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism, Pope Gregory XVI, P. 9

R. Sungenis: Rick, these are two entirely different issues. Vatican II is talking about putting Church teaching in the best explanatory language, but Gregory XVI is talking about those who say the Church has taught fallacious or incorrect disciplines. Vatican II never said the Church has incorrect disciplines. It has only said that disciplines can change with the times. Moreover, it is a fact that not all Catholic teaching has been properly explained by past popes and councils. There is always room for improvement. The only things that are not subject to improvement are ex cathedra infallible definitions by the pope.

4) That “Cooperation among Christians vividly expresses that bond which already unites them.” Ibid, P. 12

Even though:

But for other painful causes We are concerned about, you should recall that certain societies and assemblages seem to draw up a battle line together with the followers of every false religion and cult. They feign piety for religion; but they are driven by a passion for promoting novelties and sedition everywhere. –On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism, Pope Gregory XVI, P. 21

So that gravity of such danger may appear more clearly, recall for them those salutary admonitions of the Apostles, of the Fathers, and of the canons, which warn that familiar association with heretics is to be shunned. –On Mixed Marriages, Gregory XVI, P 6.

R. Sungenis: Both are true, Rick. On the one hand, there is a certain unity in the fact that Catholics and non-Catholics have received Baptism, which justifies them both. On the other hand, Catholics and non-Catholics are widely divergent on their doctrines, yet some Catholics pretend as if this doesn't matter. Gregory XVI and Pius XI are decrying that mentality.

5) That “The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men…Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as a prophet, his virgin Mother, they also honor, and even at times devoutly invoke.” Non-Christian Religions, P. 3

Even though:

Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that this indeed is the teaching of the Catholic Church. He says: “The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.” -–On Mixed Marriages, Gregory XVI, P 5

R. Sungenis: Both are true. The context of Lumen Gentium regards monotheism and the Muslims recognition of it (as opposed to Buddhists, Shintoists, Hindus) who believe in pantheism or polytheism. Since the Muslims believe in only one God, then it can only be the true God to whom they direct their worship, since there is no other God. LG is not saying they offer him correct worship, or even that they can be saved by such worship. Vatican II has all kinds of statements like this, and people mistakenly think Vatican II is saying that these religions gain salvation through their non-Catholic religions, but Vatican II never says such a thing.

6) That “Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (cf. John 19:6), neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion. It is true that the Church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoke of as rejected of accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.” Ibid, P. 4

Even though:

And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; But the children of the kingdom [the Jews] shall be cast out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat. 8:11-12

R. Sungenis: Two different things, Rick. The Jews as a whole were rejected by God, but not every Jew was responsible for the death of Christ. In fact, many of these Jews converted to Christianity because of Jesus. The Pharisees, the Sanhedrin and other political parties were the ones who instigated the death of Christ, and few, if any, of them converted. It was to the Pharisees that Jesus stated his tirade in Matthew 23. Although the Jews as a whole would suffer the punishment (just as we suffer the punishment of Adam and Eve), they were not directly responsible for the death of Christ, just as we weren't directly responsible for Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. The Jews, at large, however, are responsible for their own disbelief in Christ, which continues until the present day.

7) That “religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.” Religious Freedom, P. 2

Even though:

From what as been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. For, if nature really granted them, it would be lawful to refuse obedience to God, and there would be no restraint on human liberty. – Libertas, P. 42, Leo XIII

Condemned: Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. – The Syllabus of Errors, #9, Pius IX.

R. Sungenis: Two different issues, Rick. Vatican II is speaking about the CIVIL right man has to chose his religion. But Vatican II is emphatic that no one has a MORAL right to choose a religion other than the Catholic faith. In fact, Vatican II's Dignitatis Humanae makes it a point to say that it is abiding by the tradition of Leo XIII and Pius IX.

To believe the council is only possible if does as the council pleads: “The sacred council now pleads with all to forget the past…” --Declaration on the relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, P. 3.

Therefore:

The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy. What reply can such people make to the Apostle when he writes: As for someone who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned. -Second Council of Constantinople (553 A.D)

Therefore:

Accordingly, without exclusion, We subject to severest excommunication anyone - be it ourselves or be it another - who would dare to undertake anything new in contradiction to this constituted evangelic Tradition and the purity of the Orthodox Faith and the Christian Religion, or would seek to change anything by his opposing efforts, or would agree with those who undertake such a blasphemous venture. (Liber Diurnus Romanorum Pontificum, Patrologia Latina 1005, S. 54).

There are certain causes which effect the tacit resignation of an office, which resignation is accepted in advance by operation of law, and hence is effective without any declaration. These causes are: ... (4) if he has publicly defected (fallen away) from the Catholic faith." 1917 Code of Cannon Law 188.4

We enact, determine, decree and define: that if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy:

(i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless;

and

The laity … shall be permitted at any time to withdraw with impunity from obedience and devotion to those thus promoted or elevated and to avoid them as warlocks, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs.--Pope Paul IV, Ex Cathedra Papal Bull Cum Ex Aposolatus Officio, Feb 15 1559

Moreover:

"The Roman Pontiff has no superior but God. Who, therefore (should a pope 'lose his savor') could cast him out or trample him under foot—since of the pope it is said 'gather thy flock into thy fold'? Truly, he should not flatter himself about his power, nor should he rashly glory in his honor and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God. Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy; because he who does not believe is already judged. In such a case it should be said of him: If salt should lose its savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men." - Pope Innocent III (1198), Sermon 4

And,

"Now when [the Pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church..." -- St. Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversy, pg. 306

And,

"If ever a pope, as a private person, fell into heresy, he would at once fall from the pontificate."— St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Oeuvres Completes, 9:232

And,

"In the case of the pope becoming a heretic, he would find himself, by that fact alone and without any other sentence, separated from the Church... since he is outside of the Church, he cannot possess the Keys of the Church." St. Antoninus.

Therefore since Vatican II contradicts the teaching of the Church, and since PVI, JPI, JPII and BXVI all adhere to VII, they can not be Popes. At least so teaches the Church.

Sincerely,

Rick

R. Sungenis: No, Rick. Vatican II does not contradict the teaching of the Church. Moreover, neither you nor I are qualified or have the authority to judge whether the pope is a true pope or not. That is only done by authorities much higher than you and I.

P.S. It is my understanding that in order to print a work of theology and to teach the faith, one had to be commssioned to do so. I have heard this argument used against protestants - that no one has given them permission to preach the "faith". Who has given you permission and a commission to publish your web page?

R. Sungenis: The Church has given me the authority. That is what the Vatican II documents Apostolicam actuositatem, Gravissimum educationis, Ad gentes divinitas and Ecclesiae sanctae are all about.

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Question 24Chicago college--Opus Dei

HI Bob,

I saw that you were an Opus Dei member at one time but said to use caution with this group. Would you allow your daughter to go to a college (Lexington in Chicago) that was started by Opus Dei and is very strongly influenced by it? I can see the good of the organization, but am concerned with the some of the extremes that also seem to be present. It is kind of difficult to get a clear vision from internet sites about this group, but your opinion would be so helpful. We are at this time helping her to decide the right place to go being a Catholic young woman who would like to be in the restaurant or interior design field. Thanks for your time.

Brenda

R. Sungenis: Brenda, I've been away from Opus Dei for quite a while, so I don't feel completely qualified to help you. I know there is an ad that runs in both the Remnant (last issue) and the Wanderer claiming that Opus Dei is a cult. You may want to check out his information before you send your daughter to the school. The address is Sicut Dixit Press, Dept W, 305 Madison Ave, PO Box 1166, New York, NY, 10165.

One thing I can vouch for is that the head of Opus Dei in New York, whom I know personally, is a wonderful man. He is one of the most godly men I've known in my life. His name is Fr. Arne Penula. I knew him in California when I lived there back in the early 90s. We used to meet once a week.

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Question 23Question on 'faith alone' for justification

Dear Mr Sungenis, (Robert, if you prefer)

Thank you on the Douay Bible "history" answer.

I have tried to read everything on the site to further knowledge on our faith. I admit to a little confusion on the stance on "Not By Faith Alone!" (This book doesn't seem to be available in Australasia at the moment. Can 'you' see to this please? I really need to read it...as well as the others you've penned!)

My confusion is that your contention is that we are not justified / saved by faith alone. The explanations I've read (in this site) for that contention are logical and make sense. However, I keep remembering the prisoner on the cross 'next door.' He led a life of crime and sin (by inference.) Yet, he was promised salvation by Our Lord on the mere strength of his 'belief and faith!' By that I mean that this guy led a life of crime. He did not have time to complete any 'works' to receive salvation since he was about to expire. But at the hour of his death, he looks next to him and sees and believes that the man next to him is the Son of The Almighty! Immediately he voices his belief and asks that he be remembered when the Son comes into His kingdom. The response, "I tell you solemnly, on this day, you will walk with me in Paradise!" (Or something to that effect)

I have used this lesson many times on those who argue with me that 'nowhere in the Bible' does it say that we need "belief" and/or "faith" to receive salvation!

I am not trying to suggest that we can 'steal home base' at the last hour, since we do not know the nature and hour of our death! But if I am mistaken in my view, can you provide a meaning for this lesson that I am missing.

Thank you in anticipation

God Bless
Marty.

R. Sungenis: Marty, the matter of the thief on the cross is covered in-depth in my book Not By Faith Alone, pp. 187-190. You can order the book from us here at CAI. It will get to Australia by air mail. Write back and let me know what you would like to do.

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Question 22Question 14- Baptism of Desire?

R. Sungenis: The only thing "perverse" here is that you are trying to set the definitions of the terms, setting up a straw man so you can knock it down. This is clear from your attempted premise: "This should be easy enough; is “desire” a “sacrament” or isn’t it? It isn’t." If and when the Church, not Michael Ryan, decides that the desire for baptism is not the sacrament, then you've got something to talk about. So far, the Church hasn't given any dogmatic approval to your contention.

Response: OK; shall we review the dogmatic approval to my contention?

“All these sacraments are brought to completion by three components; by things as matter, by words as form, and by the person of the minister effecting the sacrament with the intention of doing what the Church does. And if any one of these three is lacking, the sacrament is not effected. (Denziger 695 - Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 8, Nov. 22, 1439, "Exultate Deo")

R. Sungenis: That's right. Under normal circumstances. If, for example, a priest administering water baptism fails to administer, say, the proper words, the baptism is invalid. Eugene IV is not covering the issue of the "desire" of Baptism, so it is quite inappropriate for you to put it into the mix. In fact, Eugene IV never addressed the subject of the desire of baptism. He left that to Trent.

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Question 21Original sin and unbaptized babies

Hi Mr. Sungenis.

I have one more quick question. Are unbaptized babies who die go to hell because of original sin?

R. Sungenis: In this case, the Church has not made an infallible dogma. Theoretically they would go to hell, unless God has some provision to save them. That is God's decision. For now, the only thing the Church has suggested is that they will not suffer yet are withheld from seeing the beatific vision, but that is also not dogmatic.

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Question 20Phil Vaz's Selective Evolutionary Evidence

Sungenis Phil, were not talking about concoctions that come from the biased mind of an evolutionist. We had enough of that chicanery with Piltdown Man and Peking Man. We're talking about clear, indisputable transitional forms. Besides, if you've only got "80" prospects in a world that should have millions, then you don't have anything. Transitional forms should be just as numerous as the non-transistional.

PhilVaz: Point of logic: all evolutionists need is one transitional fossil. One. They have more than that. The 80 I provided are quite sufficient. I gave you the names and the books where those names can be found. You're the one denying evolution, not me. Look them up, get educated, get your facts straight. The paleontological evidence we have says evolution is true. I also recommend this short PDF booklet from the American Geological Institute and The Paleontological Society.

R. Sungenis: You don't get it, Phil. The fact that you only have "80" claims to transitional forms means you don't have ANY real transitional forms. If any of the 80 you are claiming were real transitional forms, then you would have millions of them on hand, not just 80. This is an all-or-nothing game, Phil. Either you've got the fossil evidence both in quality AND quantity or you don't have anything. Stop tying to pull the wool over the public's eyes.

http://www.bringyou.to/EVOLUTION.PDF

Sungenis Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists -- whether through design or stupidity, I do not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups -- ("Evolution as Fact and Theory" in Hen’s Teeth and Horse Toes, Norton, NY, 1983).

Sungenis So Gould admits there are no transitional forms at the species level.

I had forgotten you quoted that in the past, sorry. But read it again. It doesn't say "no transitional forms" it says they are "generally lacking at the species level." There is a difference. Which means there are a few at the species level. And here they are:

Observed Instances of Speciation

More Observed Instances

Some species-to-species transitions in the Kathleen Hunt FAQ

See parts 2A, 2B, 2C etc

R. Sungenis: All wishful thinking, Phil. The same logic applies. How could you have just a "few" species-to-species transitional forms, but have lots of transitional forms in "larger groups," whatever they are? What is really happening is that one of your people finds a rare specimen that looks like a cross between a reptile and a mammal, and presto, you claim this is a "transitional" form. But it's not. It's only a rare species that has characteristics of both. And its rarity is the real reason you don't find many of these species. The rarity should tell you that the species did not come about by evolution. If it HAD come about by evolution, we should see these intermediate species all over the place, since it would be absolutely necessary to have them exist in order to produce the next evolutionary species. THAT is why this is an all-or-nothing game, Phil

Sungenis As for Gould's attempt to deflect this issue, he says above: "but they are abundant between larger groups." Would you mind telling us what a "larger group" is, Phil?

Sure, the major groups are called Kingdom, Phylum or Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and finally Species. Even I remember that from grade school science. :-)

R. Sungenis: That's real good, Phil, but your memory of eighth grade science isn't going to help you explain why you could have many transitional forms in one group and few, if any, in another group.

I provided the intermediate fossils between Phylum (inverts to verts), and Classes, i.e. "larger groups"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_classification

I also recommend the Wikipedia entry on evolutionary creationism which I helped to edit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_creationism

And for good measure, here is the Bob Sungenis entry and the Ken Miller entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Sungenis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_R._Miller

Sungenis Care to fill in the details, Phil? Or is this just another case of you following along with the evolutionary crowd on whatever they tell you?

Yes I would. Here are the gory details. Go to your local university library or order them online. Sorry I can't copy/paste these books into an Email. It would be a rather long Email.

Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution by Robert Carroll (W.H. Freeman, 1988)
Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution by Robert Carroll (Cambridge Univ Press, 1997)
On the Origin of Phyla by James W. Valentine (Univ of Chicago Press, 2004)
Gaining Ground: The Origin and Early Evolution of Tetrapods by Jennifer Clack (Indiana Univ Press, 2002)
Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds by Gregory Paul (John Hopkins Univ Press, 2002)
Perspectives on an Evolving Creation edited by Keith B. Miller (Eerdmans, 2003)
Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution by Kenneth R. Miller (Cliff Street Books, 1999)
Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology by Darrel R. Falk (Intervarsity Press, 2004)

Sungenis I think you're the one who needs the education, Phil. You're living in a fantasy land created by Ken Miller and company.

Get thee to a library and/or bookstore. This is the 21st century, not the 16th century. Go to your local university, find the biology and geology departments, and have them explain evolution and the age of the earth to you. Or enroll in Brown for a semester, take Dr. Miller's Biology 20.

http://www.brown.edu/Courses/BI0020_Miller/

You might want to read a little beforehand. At your current level of understanding, I don't see you getting a passing grade. :-) It seems you already missed the placement exam for this semester. I shouldn't talk since I got a C in my one college biology course 20 years ago. But I've read a little bit since then. See books above.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p63.htm

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p64.htm

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p65.htm

Phil Porvaznik

R. Sungenis: Phil, you're not impressing me one bit. Instead of telling me to read the books, start answering the questions I'm posing to you. Until then, you're just a name-dropper.

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Question 19Original Sin

I was reading the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent and came across the Fifth Session on the Decree Concerning Original Sin where on the fifth paragraph it states that "If anybody denies that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted..."

I was told that we do not inherit the guilt of original sin and that only Adam bore that guilt.

I am confused.

R. Sungenis: We do inherit the guilt. That's why we will be sent to Hell if we have the stain of Original Sin on our soul. Hell is given for punishment when someone is culpable for a crime. We are culpable because we inherit the guilt. If we were not guilty, then there would be no threat of eternal damnation for Original Sin, and no need of Baptism.

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Question 18Ken Miller has 80 intermediate fossils to give you

Phil,

My response is interspersed.

Robert Sungenis

Robert Sungenis: For example, if Gould (as he has admitted) hasn’t found any intermediate fossils (e.g., fossils between a bird and an amphibian or between a dinosaur and a bird), he, as a scientist, can conclude one of two things: (a) there are no intermediate fossils because there are no intermediate fossils in existence, or (b) the intermediate forms appeared but decayed so fast that they left no trace of their existence. Needless to say, Dr. Gould chose (b) as his "scientific" answer. One would have to agree, however, that option (a) is also a viable and logical scientific answer to the problem of the missing intermediary fossils, even if one disagreed with option (a). In other words, one cannot discount option (a) on the basis that it is "unscientific," and thus conclude that (b) is the only scientific answer. But this is precisely what Ken Miller does. He wants to constrain us from accepting option (a). But Miller can’t do it on the basis that option (a) is unscientific. Miller knows that if he allows someone to conclude on a SCIENTIFIC basis that there are no intermediate fossil because such fossils, scientifically speaking, never existed in the first place, then evolution is out the window in a hand basket. So Miller will do his best to call those who chose option (a) the "enemies of science." But in reality, Miller is only showing that he is a "bigot of science."

PhilVaz has already responded to this in detail here.

There are 80 intermediate fossils in that article, with sources provided.

R. Sungenis: Phil, were not talking about concoctions that come from the biased mind of an evolutionist. We had enough of that chicanery with Piltdown Man and Peking Man. We're talking about clear, indisputable transitional forms. Besides, if you've only got "80" prospects in a world that should have millions, then you don't have anything. Transitional forms should be just as numerous as the non-transistional.

I quoted Stephen Jay Gould:

"But paleontologists have discovered several superb examples of intermediary forms and sequences, more than enough to convince any fair-minded skeptic about the reality of life's physical genealogy." -- Stephen Jay Gould (Natural History, May 1994)

"Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists -- whether through design or stupidity, I do not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups. Yet a pamphlet entitled 'Harvard Scientists Agree Evolution Is a Hoax' states: 'The facts of punctuated equilibrium which Gould and Eldredge...are forcing Darwinists to swallow fit the picture that Bryan insisted on, and which God has revealed to us in the Bible.'" -- Stephen Jay Gould, "Evolution as Fact and Theory" (May 1981 reprinted in Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, page 260)

R. Sungenis: The only thing that is "infuriating" is watching Stephen Gould change his mind at will and think nothing of it. In case you're interested, I already covered Gould's change of mind in my paper I sent to you a while ago. I quote from it:

"Gould, after taking account of the utter failure of modern science to show any credible evidence of intermediate fossils between one species and another, stated most succinctly: “the lack of intermediate fossils is the trade secret of paleontology.” Gould, however, seems to equivocate on this matter. In 1977, he wrote in the American Museum’s monthly magazine, Natural History, an article titled “The Return of the Hopeful Monster,” in which he admitted that Goldschmidt’s theory would have to be embraced due to the lack of fossil evidence. Three years later at a convention in Chicago of 160 leading evolutionists, Gould, and Niles Eldredge (of the American Museum of Natural History), proposed the concept of punctuated equilibrium. Newsweek magazine reported that “the majority of the 160 of the world’s top paleontologists, anatomists, evolutionary geneticists and developmental biologists supported some form of this new theory of ‘punctuated equilibria.’” Three years later, in 1983, Gould was found saying: “Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists – whether through design or stupidity, I do not know – as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups” (“Evolution as Fact and Theory” in Hen’s Teeth and Horse Toes, Norton, NY, 1983).
So Gould admits there are no transitional forms at the species level. Until his death, he has never retracted that statement. Tell me, Phil, are any of those "80" examples you have purporting to be of the species level? If so, then Gould disagrees with you. If no, then you don't have anything to prove evolution, because the whole theory of evolution and the fossil record revolves around you and your colleagues finding species-level transitional forms. If you can't, then there is no evolution.

As for Gould's attempt to deflect this issue, he says above: "but they are abundant between larger groups.” Would you mind telling us what a "larger group" is, Phil? For being a scientist, Gould certainly wasn't being very precise here, was he? Are we now supposed to base everything on phylums or other such broad brush strokes instead of species to accommodate evolutionary theory? And what examples are there of such "larger groups" (whatever they are) showing examples of bona fide, indisputable, transitional forms? And what evidence do we have that these "larger group" transitions are so numerous (at least above "80" specimens) that we know for sure that evolution took place? Care to fill in the details, Phil? Or is this just another case of you following along with the evolutionary crowd on whatever they tell you?

I quoted paleontologist Robert Carroll:

"During the past 20 years, our knowledge of fossil vertebrates has increased immensely. Entirely new groups of jawless fish, sharks, amphibians, and dinosaurs have been discovered, and the major transitions between amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and mammals, and dinosaurs and birds have been thoroughly studied. Evidence from both paleontology and molecular biology provides much new information on the initial radiation of both birds and placental mammals." (Robert Carroll, Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution [1988], page xiii preface).

R. Sungenis: "Jawless fish" do not prove evolution, or even intimate that evolution took place. All it gives us is a jawless fish. Stop living in a fantasy land, Phil. When you can show a genetic basis for a change from a fish to amphibian or reptiles to mammals such that the new species acquires the new genes from the previous species in order to perpetuate the new species, then you've got something. All you have now are creatures of the same species that are different in form from other creatures of the same species. Big deal. We have Caucasian, Negroid, and Mongoloid humans, but they are all still humans. Stop making variation within the species as if its some proof of evolution. It's not.

I quoted Carroll on the gaps at the "species level" while providing the following intermediate fossils:

Cambrian fossils between invertebrates and vertebrates: Pikaia, Yunnanozoon, Haikouella, Conodonts, Cathaymyrus, Myllokunmingia, Haikouichthys

Fish-to-Amphibian (tetrapod) intermediate fossils: Eusthenopteron, Sterropterygion, Panderichthys, Elpistostege, Obruchevichthys, Kenichthys, Acanthostega (picture provided), Ichthyostega, Tulerpeton, etc

Dinosaur (Reptile)-to-Bird transitional fossils with no morphological gaps: represented by Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus, Ceratosaurus, Allosaurus, Compsognathus, Sinosauropteryx, Protarchaeopteryx, Caudipteryx, Velociraptor, Sinovenator, Beipiaosaurus, Sinornithosaurus, Microraptor, Archaeopteryx (picture provided), Rahonavis, Confuciusornis, Sinornis, Patagopteryx, Hesperornis, Apsaravis, Ichthyornis, and Columba, among others

Reptile-to-Mammal intermediates, ranging from the pelycosauria, therapsida, cynodonta, up to primitive mammalia: Paleothyris, Protoclepsydrops, Clepsydrops, Archaeothyris, Varanops, Haptodus, Dimetrodon, Sphenacodon, Biarmosuchia, Procynosuchus, Dvinia, Permocynodon, Thrinaxodon, Cynognathus, Diademodon, Probelesodon, Probainognathus, Exaeretodon, Oligokyphus, Kayentatherium, Pachygenelus, Diarthrognathus, Adelobasileus, Sinoconodon, Kuehneotherium, Eozostrodon, Morganucodon, Haldanodon, Peramus, Endotherium, Kielantherium, Aegialodon, Steropodon, Vincelestes, Pariadens, Kennalestes, Asioryctes, Cimolestes, Procerberus, Gypsonictops

Land Mammal-to-Whale evolution intermediates: Pakicetus, Rodhocetus, Ambulocetus (picture provided), Dorudon, Basilosaurus, and modern whales

R. Sungenis: Names don't mean a thing, Phil. Species to species evolution is the only thing that will mean something in this debate, and Professor Gould already admitted he has no such specimens.

Books for Bob Sungenis:

Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution by Robert Carroll (W.H. Freeman, 1988)
Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution by Robert Carroll (Cambridge Univ Press, 1997)
On the Origin of Phyla by James W. Valentine (Univ of Chicago Press, 2004)
Gaining Ground: The Origin and Early Evolution of Tetrapods by Jennifer Clack (Indiana Univ Press, 2002)
Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds by Gregory Paul (John Hopkins Univ Press, 2002)
Perspectives on an Evolving Creation edited by Keith B. Miller (Eerdmans, 2003)
Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution by Kenneth R. Miller (Cliff Street Books, 1999)
Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology by Darrel R. Falk (Intervarsity Press, 2004)

Have you read any of these books yet? Really Bob, it's not that hard to get educated on this topic. You don't have to be a geologist, biologist, or paleontologist to learn these things.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p65.htm
http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p64.htm
http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p63.htm

Phil Porvaznik

R. Sungenis: I think you're the one who needs the education, Phil. You're living in a fantasy land created by Ken Miller and company.

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Question 17What does "knowing good and evil" mean?

Dear Robert,

Would you explain what it means when the devil said to Adam and Eve, “God knows in the day you eat of it you shall become as gods, knowing good and evil.” What does it mean to “know good and evil,” and why was this such a temptation for Adam and Eve?

R. Sungenis: John, very good question. Actually, this event shows how deceptive the devil really is. When Adam and Eve were created they “knew” good but not evil. That is, they did not know evil in the sense of experiencing it. They had already experienced goodness because they were enjoying God’s creation and obeying him, but they had never experienced evil. So when the devil comes to Eve and says “God knows in the day you eat of it you shall become as gods, knowing good and evil,” it is almost a truism, since once Eve eats the fruit she, indeed, will “know” good and evil, for she will have experienced evil by disobeying God.

To give you an analogy, it would be like you sitting next to the pilot of a Boeing 777 and he says to you, “Here, take the controls. When you do, you will be a pilot and can fly the plane.” Well, in a certain sense, you will, indeed, be a “pilot” since you will be steering the plane, but you won’t know how to fly the plane, therefore you’re not a real pilot and the plane will soon crash. In the same way, the devil’s ploy told Eve she would be “like god,” which was at least a half truth, since after she ate the fruit she did know good and evil, very intimately, but it caused her “plane” to crash.

Eve was tempted in the sense that she thought she would rise above good and evil, as a god is. She thought she could escape her creaturely existence and not have to be hampered with obeying rules and being threatened with punishment. She thought she would be equal to God, having the ability to issue the rules instead of having to obey them. Hence, her pride would overtake her at this point and then lead her into eating the fruit.

Hence, the devil’s temptation was to make it look like Eve was going to attain something special; something God was unwilling to give her, when in reality the only thing she would receive after eating the fruit is the “knowledge” she had sinned against God! After eating the fruit, she would, indeed, “know good and evil,” for she would experience it for herself. The “knowledge” of good and evil hits them immediately thereafter, since guilt fills their soul and they hide from God.

This brings up another important aspect. Evil is very tempting for man because it is the only thing in the universe man can do that God cannot do. Yes, God is Almighty. The Scripture says “there is nothing too hard for him” (Gn 18:14; Jr 32:27). It says there “all things are possible for God” (Mt 19:26). Job said God “could do anything” (Jb 42:2). But these are all conditioned statements. They are all said in the context of doing good things.

The fact is, there are many things that are impossible for God to do. God can’t lie or cheat or steal or double cross or take advantage of someone. As much as Scripture insists that all things are possible for God, it also insists that it is impossible for God to do evil.

Titus 1:2 says: “God never lies” and Hebrews 6:18 says “It is impossible for God to lie.” Many other verses tell us that God is holy and righteous with no stain of evil. They tell us that not even the angels or the heavens are pure in his sight (Jb 15:15; 4:18).

Everything God does is good. But not everything we do is good. We, in other words, can do something that God cannot do. Being able to do something that God cannot do is intoxicating to men. Being able to do something that God cannot do makes them gods in their own way. That is why they turn to evil. They become their own gods in their own little world creating evil similar to how God created the world. They can virtually create evil out of nothing. Thoughts, words or deeds can be turned into evil instantaneously.

This was what was behind Satan’s decision to rebel against God. Satan, knowing he could never be greater than God, reasoned in his pride that the only way he could be independent of God and have his own world to rule was to do evil. Satan, being the most powerful being in the universe next to God, would be able to rule the world of evil unchallenged. He could create evil as much as he wanted. God, being bound by righteousness, could not annihilate the devil, neither could he forbid him to have rule over the earth, since the devil won the battle in the Garden of Eden. If God sent the devil to hell immediately, He would have had to send man to hell immediately, in order to be just and fair. The devil knew this. He knows that God must always do what is perfectly fair and just, otherwise God would sin, and it is impossible for God to sin. Hence, the devil takes full advantage of God’s righteousness.

God cannot do evil to destroy the devil or wicked men. Everything God does must be holy, righteous with no deception. God must destroy evil by doing good, and do it in such a way that he preserves his honor as a divine being. It is indeed a difficult task. But since God’s intellect is infinite, and he knows all the thoughts and plans of his enemy before they occur, he is always many steps ahead of the devil, and thus he will win in the end.

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Question 16Robert Sungenis Pt. 2

Please go back to being a Protestant, we don't want your renegade type in our beloved Church.

A. Granville

R. Sungenis: Unfortunately for you, Mr. Granville, the Catholic Church is on MY side, for Canon Law 212.2-3 allows me to register my criticisms against wayward prelates and especially wayward Catholics, but the same Canon Law says nothing about telling a fellow Catholic to "go back to being a Protestant." Go back to sleep, Mr. Granville. Either that, or learn your Catholic faith. Jesus doesn't want lukewarm Christians in the Church. He will spit them out of his mouth (Apoc 3:16).

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Question 15Robert Sungenis

This question if for Mr. Sungenis.

Why is it, my friend, that when you look at your website review on catholicculture.org, your fidelity rating is "DANGER," and when you look at Catholic Answers website review, its fidelity rating is "EXCELLENT?'

You see, Mr. Sungenis, your opinions aren't very orthodox when you criticize:

1. The Holy Father
2. The New Mass
3. Catholic Answers
4. Karl Keating
5. Jews
6. Scientific Evidence

What kind of catholic are you? I don't know, but I wouldn't want you in my foxhole when defending the Truth of the Church. You get my drift, dude?

Don't even try to defend yourself, if you know any better.

Mr. Granville
Hemet, CA

R. Sungenis: Mr. Granville, I'm sorry we don't live in the Pollyanna world that you live in. When you decide to put away your sand castles and face reality, then look us up. You and your crowd are precisely the reason the Church is in the deteriorated state it is, since you are afraid to criticize what is wrong with it. Go back to sleep, Mr. Granville.

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Question 14NFP

What are the specific guidelines and proper reasons for using NFP?

R. Sungenis: Check our July and August QA board. We addressed several question on NFP.

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Question 13Question 14- Baptism of Desire?

R. Sungenis: “…neither the Church nor I have ever said no one needed Baptism to enter heaven. What we have said is that, in certain cases that have not yet been defined by the Church, the desire for Baptism can suffice for actual water Baptism. Thereby, no one enters heaven without receiving the sacrament. I hope that’s clear.”

This should be easy enough; is “desire” a “sacrament” or isn’t it? It isn’t. Neither is sanctifying grace a sacrament, but only one of its chief effects just as the indelible seal of incorporation into the Mystical Body is one of its chief effects. A sacrament is intention, matter and form, is it not? No one enters heaven without receiving the sacrament is true enough (precisely what Trent dogmatically defined), so your way around this is to state that the desire for Baptism can suffice for actual water baptism and thus, in one’s desire for baptism, one receives the sacrament itself (without the laver of regeneration).

This is all perverse – but perhaps you would care to explain.

Michael

R. Sungenis: The only thing "perverse" here is that you are trying to set the definitions of the terms, setting up a straw man so you can knock it down. This is clear from your attempted premise: "This should be easy enough; is “desire” a “sacrament” or isn’t it? It isn’t." If and when the Church, not Michael Ryan, decides that the desire for baptism is not the sacrament, then you've got something to talk about. So far, the Church hasn't given any dogmatic approval to your contention.

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Question 12A reaction to your article on Raymond Brown

I read through your article, with which I totally agree. And, I sent it to a sister who was writing articles for the local Catholic newspaper, in which she made statements contradicting the catechism.

She's really mad at me, and here is her reply to my suggestion that she read your article:

"Why would I read something trashing Raymond Brown who was approved by the Papacy, the Bishops, and whose works always carried an imprimatur? That is enough assurance of orthodoxy for me."
Sister Mary

go figure.

Rick Luczak
Bay City Michigan

R. Sungenis: I guess "Sister Mary" never heard of the Arian crisis.

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Question 11Reply to you

Does this mean that JPII, PVI, BXVI are liberals?

I remember when you first started noticing that something was amiss, and as I remember you made a comparison that was akin to an elephant in the living room. You correctly pointed out that that elephant was Vatican II. You were starting to see things so clearly, but then everything changed. Who talked to you? Did you start to see the EWTN gigs slipping through your fingers? Was the fringe too lonely?

Since you decided to embrace the whore of Babylon, your "apologetics" have become laudable. You have to dance around claiming things ambiguous and interpreting away from the obvious and literal sense of things. We all know that this is a favorite tactic of modernists – both ambiguity and interpreting. But I know that there is nothing that I can say to set things right -- You are very intelligent and active.

I will pray for you and ask for the same.

Sincerely,

Rick

R. Sungenis: Rick, I really don't have the first clue what you are talking about. Nothing has changed here, except your perception. If you have something specific to which you want to object and seek my response, then say so specifically, and with a little more respect. Otherwise, this is going in the circular file.

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Question 10Question on Leonardo da Vinci

Dear Dr. Sungenis,

While researching the worldview of Leonardo da Vinci and ran across your article, "Art Through the Ages," which I greatly enjoyed. I see you are a Francis Scheaffer fan as am I.

My question for you is about your source for the statement "...little known is that da Vinci spent much of his artistic talent drawing charcoal sketches of the human form in order to capture the 'soul,' - not the soul in the spiritual sense, rather the inner essence, the universal man."

I have gone through the massive Leonardo da Vinci published in 1956 by Reynal & Co. without finding reference to his charcoal sketches in pursuit of the soul. I have also read nearly everything by Schaeffer and did not find it there. I am writing a book about worldviews and hope to use this information. Perhaps you have come to this conclusion through your own study and your essay could be my source.

Thank you for your time.
Take care and God bless,
C. L. Gray, MD

R. Sungenis: Dr Gray, yes, I did admire Francis' approach to philosophy! He also made it easily understood for the layman. I corresponded with him just a couple of years before he died in 1984. He was a hair's breadth from becoming Catholic, I believe. As for the issue on the charcoal sketch, I got that from a lecture I heard from Francis. Unfortunately, I don't have those tapes any longer. I wish I did. They were so good. In any case, perhaps you can cite Francis as your source, and I can vouch for it.

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Question 9Regarding Matthew 16:18

Mr. Sungenis,

I saw a website belonging to an evangelical group called the Bereans Apologetics Research Ministry and they posted their top ten reasons why St. Peter is not the Rock on which Jesus built His Church. They are as follows:

I know you are well-versed in the Greek language and therefore you are in a better position to comment based on the Greek grammar. How this group is’s reasoning defective in this regard? I think these top reasons contain all the reasoning of most non-Catholics to deny the Papacy. Please comment on these reasons and I think the answers you would give could be used as a reference by Catholics to defend our Church’s position on Matthew 16:18. Thanks.

Dennis

1. In Greek, Peter is Petros, it is masculine in form, while, also in Greek petra or rock is feminine, i.e., it is more plausible that Jesus is referring to anything other than Peter.

R. Sungenis: Then why did St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit who doesn't make errors, also call Jesus a "petra" in 1 Cor 10:4?

2. Jesus used a personal pronoun addressing Petros (i.e., "YOU are Peter") but regarding the petra, Jesus used demonstrative pronoun (i.e., "UPON this rock"), in third person.

R. Sungenis: "Upon" is not a demonstrative pronoun. It is a Greek preposition. "This" in the Greek (tautee) is a demonstrative pronoun. As such, demonstrative pronouns can be used for nouns or proper nouns, so there is no substance to their argument.

3. If Jesus meant Petros to be the petra, there is no reason why he shouldn't have said, "UPON YOU I will build my Church," but he didn't.

R. Sungenis: Yes, if the Bible was written as sterile as the Protestants would like it to be. The fact is, Jesus is using the image of a rock, which is a solid foundation, to give us a mental picture of what Peter's position will be. It's the same as when God refers to himself as a rock in the Old Testament, or when Jesus is called a rock in 1 Cor 10:4.

4. Jesus is referred to as a petra elsewhere in the New Testament by none other than Petros himself (1 Peter 2:8) and also by Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 10:4).

R. Sungenis: So I'm going to cut my left hand off just because I have a right hand? Their argument is silly. Besides, now they've admitted that Jesus (a male) is also given a feminine word (petra) to describe him!

5. It is actually more plausible, based on the context, that when Jesus said, "Upon this rock," he was pointing to himself specifically on his body that will lay the groundwork for the establishment of the Church later in Acts 2, that is, through his own sacrificial death, awesome resurrection and glorious ascension.

R. Sungenis: Not when he begins the sentence with the words "You are Peter." If Christ had said "I am Christ, and upon this rock I will build my Church," then the Protestant would win the argument. As it stands, only Peter is in view. Besides, Peter's name means "rock." What other evidence do we need? (See John 1:42).

6. The people in Galilee, where the conversation in Matthew 16:18 took place, spoke in Greek, it is therefore possible that their conversation happened in Greek.

R. Sungenis: Doesn't make any difference. They could have been speaking in Russian. It doesn't matter. What matters is what the Holy Spirit inspired in the inerrant word of God.

7. Matthew often translates and expounds non-Greek terms of importance in his gospel, if Jesus meant Petros to be the foundational petra; Matthew should have translated and expounded it as he did in Matthew 1:23; 27:33, and 27:46.

R. Sungenis: John already did that for us in John 1:42.

8. The Holy Spirit has chosen specifically the ancient Greek language to accurately convey God's truth, thus, we should give weight on Greek evidence than on the Romanist Cephas-cephas evidence in Aramaic, an ancient translation of the Greek gospel from Matthew.

R. Sungenis: For once we agree. But unfortunately for Dave Hunt and company, they don't know the Greek language well enough to understand what is transpiring in Matthew 16:18-19.

9. If Jesus meant the Papacy to be an important aspect of Christianity, he should have made it as explicit as he made his return so explicit.

R. Sungenis: How much more explicit do they want it? We have Matthew 16:18-19 stated by Jesus. All the pronouns in Mt 16:18-19 are singular, referring to one person, Peter. No one else. Then we have Peter making major decisions for the Church in Acts 1:20 and Acts 15:1-12, and no one else is doing so, not even St. Paul. Anyone without a bias can connect the dots. But as Jesus said to the man in hell, even if someone were to rise from the dead and tell them, they would still not believe. (Luke 16:31).

10. The Romanists use Matthew 16:18 to justify their Popery saying the Pope is the head of the Universal Church, this goes against the Scripture which says Jesus is the head of the Body (i.e., Universal Church) as in Colossians 1:18.

R. Sungenis: Then I suggest Dave Hunt resign as the director of the Berean Call, since if their can't be two people in authority, one with greater authority and one with lesser authority, then there is no room for Mr. Hunt.

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Question 8Romans 1:17

Robert:

Forget about being Catholic, Protestant, tree worshipper etc. If a totally objective person were to read Romans 1:17 "the righteousness of God" how in the world could they come up with the interpretation that Luther did? If the phrase where "the righteousness of Don, or the righteousness of Robert, any normal person would say that applies to God, Don or Robert. Luther HAD to come up with a novel reading of that phrase, a reading that no one else came up with in 1500 years because he had to find another authority to replace the Ancient church and a concept that afforded him some cheap grace.

My question; How in the world can the disagreement over this phrase be going on for 500 years? Anyone with an IQ of a box of rocks can see that there is no imputation involved here.

As you see, I followed the rules and kept my question short and to the point. (oh boy, I'm in trouble now).

Don Fahrenkrug
Pueblo, Colorado
St Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church

R. Sungenis: Don, actually, some of the confusion is caused by the Greek grammar, which can be a subjective genitive or an objective genitive. If you want a full blown treatment of this issue, look in Not By Faith Alone, pp. 314-324.

Keep plugging away! You're doing great!

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Question 7Question 14- Baptism of Desire?

Response from Michael:

Robert,

I will not take too-much of your time in rebutting your and Patrick’s fallacious arguments. As you know, I submitted for your consideration a four part comprehensive rebuttal to your stated position which holds that the sacrament of baptism is not necessary for salvation (rebuttals Patrick never saw in their entirety). Those responses answered every one of your (and Patrick’s) false arguments and thoroughly exposed the hypocrisy and errors of your heterodox position. That you chose not to respond to any of those rebuttals except by way of regurgitating the same stale bromides about your interpretation of Trent’s Session Six, Chapter 4 (your interpretation obviously representing the central teaching of the deposit of faith from which all dogmatic truth must revolve), and waxing on about “undefined general contingencies” as being the basis for interpreting defined dogma, only reinforces my suspicion that you cannot reply with any meaningful scholarship to the arguments presented.

After having recently perused your website, I must admit to being impressed with the prolificacy and level of scholarship you apply to a wide array of topics (I’ve always supported your writings on geo-centrism and enjoy your responses to the so-called challenges to your position); not to mention your lengthy (often multi-part) articles written for publications such as The Remnant. I mention this because I find it a bit disappointing that you can take the time to attend to these numerous multi-faceted projects, yet you can’t seem to take the time to address in any meaningful way the arguments presented against your posted positions on baptism and salvation outside the Church (you have in fact simply ignored and dismissed the majority of the arguments themselves as if they are beneath your erudite scholarship).

You also stated elsewhere that you find fault with such “mind-numbing language” (that which I labeled “heterodoxy”, “blatant hypocrisy,” “doctrinal escape clauses”) and the like, and will probably once again accuse me of being my own “magisterium”, (a typical response when one cannot respond); but really Robert, this isn’t the first time someone has taken exception to one of your positions and employed forceful language in the attempt to expose your errors. Yet after dismissing my arguments by telling me that we are finished with this “debate”, you then made the comment to a third party that I never responded to your last post. It’s hard to respond when my responses are never really answered. One-sided “debates” can get a little old, don’t you think? Now I do not have any control over what you choose to post on your site, and if you choose to continue this dialogue off-line and post only small snippets, fine; I will at least have a record of these exchanges. And if you wish not too respond, that’s also fine. But I would appreciate at least a tacit acknowledgement of my previous rebuttals and some attempt on your part to demonstrate where I am wrong.

R. Sungenis: Michael, here's the deal. Make your objections short and concise. In fact, I suggest you make bullet points with no more than two or three sentences in each point. I am simply not going to wade through your assortment of long-winded objections and ad hominem remarks as they now appear in your present email.

For the record, the last time your name came up regarding this issue was when Jim Merganthal sent me your objections and I answered those objections. If he didn't send you a copy I suggest you contact him. I specifically answered your objection regarding what the Council of Trent meant by the word "desire," of which I have never received a response from you.

Again, if you want my response, make bullet points that contain your major arguments and that don't contain any ad hominem. Otherwise this issue will simply sit on the shelf. My time is very limited.

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Question 6Debate with Gerry Matatics

Robert,

I no longer see the banner for your debate with Gerry Matatics which was supposed to occur this fall. Furthermore, there is no mention of it on Gerry Matatics' website either. Is the debate still on?

Chris

R. Sungenis: No, the debate is canceled. Mr. Matatics is more or less out of commission.

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Question 5A single drop of blood shed

Dear Robert Sungenis:

I was hoping to get a potential confusion cleared up with you.

It has always been my impression, given the various scholastic works of theology I have read, that the following has been the common teaching of theologians: *hypothetically* speaking, due to the hypostatic union which gave Our Lord's human acts infinite worth, His slightest suffering (even without the shedding of His precious blood) could have been rightfully accepted by the Father for the satisfaction and atonement of the sins of the human race -- if Our Lord had so offered that 'slightest suffering' for just this purpose. The idea would further be that the reason Jesus *actually* went as extremely far in suffering and, indeed, dying for us as He did was to provide a purely gratuitous supererogatory satisfaction for sin, as well as demonstrate to an even greater degree His burning love for each one of us.

Now, I'm pretty sure you deny (perhaps rightly) this hypothetical possibility. Be that as it may, my question is whether I have been correct in thinking that the assertion of said possibility has indeed been the common Catholic theological tradition, at least over the past several centuries.

Your help in this matter would be very much appreciated!

God bless,

Richard

P.S. Though I didn't before, I am coming to really appreciate the tremendous scholarship evinced in NOT BY FAITH ALONE. Is there anything in it that you would now wish to substantially alter?

R. Sungenis: No, there is nothing I would alter in NBFA. The only thing I would like to do is make a new and revised version adding a bit more of the Fathers, and answering more in depth some arguments from the New Perspective on Paul by such esteemed scholars as N. T. Wright, whom Scott Hahn follows.

As for the Atonement, I'm sorry to say, but the above description of Christ's suffering, although popular in some circles, is more or less Catholic folklore. Those who write such things really don't understand what went into the Atonement at all, and thus they opt for the "infinite value of one drop of blood" approach. Not only is that wrong, it verges on the heretical, since Catholic dogmatic teaching is clear that Christ's death, and nothing less, was required for the Atonement. "One drop of blood" would in no way satisfy that demand.

Further, to say that God took more than what was required turns God into a bloodthirsty tyrant who wants his pound of flesh, as it were, even though a smaller amount would have sufficed. Again, God said NO to the lesser amount at the Garden of Gethsemane. We have to understand that God's honor is at stake here, and this honor is the whole basis for why the Atonement is needed in the first place. God's great honor is preserved and his great wrath appeased by an equally great and irreversible sacrifice. Pin pricks are not allowed in that scenario.

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Question 4About Raymond E. Brown

Mr. Sungenis,

I've read your essay about Brown and I could almost cry.

I am outnumbered by so many people mislead by Brown, that I can't begin to tell you. My own nausea about him came from just reading those parts of the Jerome Commentary that he wrote or co-authored. I said to myself, that's not my Church.

Particularly, I came to the same realization that you expressed in that article, that this extreme historical criticism really doesn't help us with the Bible very much. The current saying is that it "sucks the air out of a room." That is to say, what do you have left when everything is thrown overboard?

I have seldom had an idea that someone else didn't already have. My ego is nourished that at least I came to the same idea on my own (or so it seems). But, I, too, have that intuitive feeling that we should read the Bible just as its written.

I'm just "getting into" your website. I'm going to take a look at the study Bible that you have offered there.

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Rick Luczak
Bay City Michigan

R. Sungenis: Rick, my sentiments exactly. Raymond Brown has been a blight on Catholic Scripture scholarship that is unimaginable. Of course, he was just following his Protestant teachers who were already steep in heresy. The only thing Brown did was make this garbage presentable for the Catholic populace.

God be with you. Keep up the good work.

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Question 3"Dr". White

Sir:

I am writing as CAI lists you as "webmaster". Please forward (or delete) this message as you deem proper.

CAI lists various writings, debates, etc. that mention the protestant apologist James White. Your web site also, as far as I can tell, consistently refers to James White as "Dr." James White.

From James White's web site, the only "doctorate" listed is "Th.D., Apologetics, Columbia Evangelical Seminary, 1998". See here

Columbia Evangelical Seminary is an unaccredited institution which apparently has no campus. See Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong's description

Many would refer to such a "school" as a degree mill. And most would consider degrees from such a place to be worthless, particularly at a doctorate level.

Was CAI aware of this situation? If so, does CAI recognize James White as a holder of a doctorate?

Thanks for your time, I find the CAI site interesting.......

Stan

R. Sungenis: We recognize James White's doctoral degree as a legitimate degree. Today one needs to recognize that, in the age of computers, the Internet and various other factors, degrees can be issued from various institutions which depart from the conventions of the past.

Moreover, the standard accrediting of institutions have become somewhat of a political, ideological and financial animal, which is leading other educational institutions to seek their accreditation from elsewhere.

In any case, the only time that the particular school one attends might become a practical issue is in fields where bodily harm may be incurred from someone who is incompetent or not trained very well, such as the medical field, the nuclear field, engineering, etc.

Theology does not present such a concern, since opinions about which theological position is correct are much more numerous than the above fields, and few will be physically harmed by an opposing position.

Moreover, there is a big difference between a "degree mill" and an insitution such as Columbia University. A "degree mill" merely prints out a diploma and gives you grades without the applicant producing any work whatsoever. The only thing he needs to do is pay the fee, which often ranges from $500-$5000, depending on how successful the swindle is.

Columbia University is not a degree mill. It requires that the applicant first have at least a Master's degree level diploma from an accredited insitution in order to enroll, and it will also require a curriculum of about 2-4 years in which the applicant must write a traditionally-accepted dissertation. Moreover, the applicant is required to have at least two mentors that will guide the dissertation, and he is usually required to visit either the campus or the mentors on a regular basis. The dissertation must also be defended, in most cases. The only thing not required is a daily curriculum in a classroom.

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Question 2The Geocentric Challenge

Get this:

1) You've got to admit - it's hard to respect someone with such an unorthodox view.. how much do you respect people who believe the Earth is flat, or that chemicals should be combined by alchemy to turn gold to lead? I express so much disrespect to you because I honestly believe you can't seriously understand the situation based on a lot of your articles (yes, I read through them previously).. and so I think your website muddies the water and confuses the layman, since you use a lot of technical jargon. I don't apologize for that, since I think your website disrespects the hard work and sacrifice of real scientists for hundreds of years.

R. Sungenis: Well, let me warn you, Brad. Everyone has come into my little office with their guns blazing. But I've had everybody from backyard telescope geeks to Ph.D.s in General Relativity walk out of my office realizing that they don't have the slightest proof for heliocentrism. It's kind of hard for them to think otherwise once I show them that the best scientists in the world (including Einstein himself) admit they have no proof. It's all a matter of perspective.

2) I have a specific objection using the Hohman transfer I want to discuss with you.. if you wish to answer my question, please do so. How is the Geocentric configuration set up? And do the planets and Sun have the commonly accepted masses, or do you modify those as well?

Respectful enough?

R. Sungenis: I'll let you in on a little secret. Someone who had written to me had also contacted NASA about the trajectory plots for sending probes to Mars. NASA shot back an email to this gentleman stating that the geocentric model wouldn't work. Since I was also sent NASA's reply, I challenged them to show me, by math and geometry, why a geocentric system wouldn't work. (I had to step through their mine field of derogatory remarks in order to do so). They then directed me to their website where I could ask the question on a formal basis, which I did. That was about three weeks ago, but they claim that they answer questions within one week.

The reason, Brad, is that whether it's the Hohman transfer or the Mohman transfer, there is no difference between the geocentric system and the heliocentric. In the geocentric system, the Earth is in the center, the eight planets go around the Sun, and the Sun goes around the earth. The only difference between that and the heliocentric system is that the Earth is in the center instead of the sun, but every other geometrical and mathematical relation is the same as in heliocentrism.

Now, if you want to argue on a universal basis, then you're going to run smack into General Relativity's thesis that there is no difference between a rotating Earth in a fixed star system and a fixed Earth in a rotating star system, since both systems would produce the same graviational, centrifugal and Coriolis forces. I have the quotes from them saying so, in addition to the fact that my co-author of the book Galileo Was Wrong has a Ph.D. in General Relativity and will vouch for everything I'm saying.

So, if you want to take a shot at it, be my guest. Just don't waste my time with trivial arguments, and do try to make your presentation respectful.

Robert Sungenis

P.S. By the way, I don't believe the Earth is flat, nor do I subscribe to alchemy. I also don't believe the moon is made of green cheese, in case that helps. :)

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Question 1Isaiah 46:11 and a Catholic Debate against Iglesia ni Cristo (INC)

Dear Bob,

May Christ's peace be upon you in your great work of evangelization!

I accepted the challenge of the ministers of Iglesia ni Cristo here in the Philippines for a national debate since I am an officer and lecturer/debater of the Catholic faith Defenders, Inc here in our country (Philippines).The Proposition is: "Resolved, that the Iglesia ni Cristo established by Felix Manalo in 1914 is the true Church founded by Christ, as can be proved in The Bible and references".

I still have to see Karl Keating's tape tomorrow because he debated against Ventilacion there in States and defeated him. Since the INC uses the Moffat version of Isa.46:11 to advance their contention of "far East" to push that it's Philippines, while all other Bibles only state "East", I would like to ask help from you to provide me the original Hebrew text (worded in English alphabet) and original Septuagint text (worded in English alphabet). I know that you are the "King" of all Catholic apologists in the world, that's why i ask for your kind help. Please.

The INC rejects that it's Cyrus who is prophesied, but say it's Manalo. But when Catholic apologists here in formal debates say it's Christ, they lose their minds.

Hope you can help me on this. If you have some hints in debate vs. INC you might help me also. I would really appreciate it. God bless.

Rey V. Entila
Asst. Professor
Religious Studies Dept.
Univ. of St. La Salle
Bacolod City, Philippines

R. Sungenis: Rev. Entila, I don’t know if I’m the “King of all Catholic apologists in the world,” but I’ll sure give your question a whack.

There are two clauses of relevance in Is 46:11. The first, in the English transliteration of the Hebrew is: qore mimizerach ayim, which means “calling from the sunrise a bird of prey” or “calling from the east a bird of prey.” The word mimizerach is from the common Hebrew word for “east” or “sunrise,” mizarach (spelled in Hebrew as mem, zayin, resh, chey). The “mi” prefix represents the preposition “from” in English. Since there are other words in Hebrew that are used specifically for “east” (such as qadim, qedem, or qadmoni), the translation “rising of the sun” is the more literal translation for mizarach.

The second clause is merets merechaq ish atsachi, which means “from a land far off, the man of my purpose.” The word merechaq (in Hebrew the spelling is mem, resh, chey, qof) represents the translation “far off.” It could be a “distant land” or anything that is not in the near vicinity of the speaker, and by implication, would require a long journey to reach.

Regarding the first clause, Moffat’s translation, which is, by and large, a very loose "dynamic equivalence" translation that often verges on paraphrase, is probably conflating the words mizarach and merechaq, and thus comes up with “far east.”

But that simply is not allowed in normal translation. First, the verse is in the form of Hebrew poetry in which the second clause reiterates the first clause, but merely in different words. Hebrew poetry is used in these instances because of the employing of metaphors, in this case “bird of prey.” This is also why “sunrise” may be a better translation than “east,” since birds seem to fly against the background of the sun.

Moreover, mizarach is never understood as “far east” in Hebrew, especially in the sense of the proper noun “Far East.” It is lunacy that someone would attempt to twist the Hebrew text in this way. If there was any intention from the writer to introduce the Far East (of which there is no instance in the entire Bible), we would expect to see some type of development of this idea in the context and the surrounding chapters, but there is nothing even remotely pointing to the Far East. Since Medio-Persia was to the distant east of Israel, and it was to Babylon that the Medio-Persian king, Cyrus, would come in order to conquer Babylon, that is why Babylon’s doom is forecasted in the very next chapter, Isaiah 47.

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