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August 2004 - QA

Q&A's August 2004

Question 1 - Geometry 101.

Question 2 - Geocentrism Refuted?

Question 3 - Are there any seminaries that you would recommend?

Question 4 - Tycho Brahe murdered?

Question 5 - Why Can't the Moon be the Center?

Question 6 - How Many Infallible Statements Are There?

Question 7 - A Rebuttal to the Use of the Oxford Papyri?

Question 8 - Finding a good New Testament?

Question 9 - Catechism vs. the Bible?

Question 10 - Who Restrains Me from Sin, Me or God or Both?

Question 11 - How Do we View Popes Who Authorized Burning at the Stake?

Question 12 - Are the Pope's comments in Fulda recorded?

Question 13 - Who is Alen Ames?

Question 14 - Baptism of Desire?

Question 15 - Marian Apparitions and the Protestant Rapture?

Question 16 - Geocentric research?

Question 17 - Were there Two Covenants, the Abrahamic and Mosaic?

Question 18 - Is Cremation Allowed?

Question 19 - Universal Salvation?

Question 20 - What is the Proper Translation of Romans 5:12?

Question 21 - Preaching Error from the Pulpit?

Question 22 - St. Louis de Montfort's morning offering?

Question 23 - Petros/petra?

Question 24 - What to do with the PBC's statements on Fundamentalism?

Question 25 - Christ's propitiatory sacrifice - necessary or most fitting?

Question 26 - How Do we View Popes Who Authorized Burning at the Stake? Part II

Question 27 - The Novus Ordo

Question 28 - Is Catholic Lay Apologetics Approved by the Magisterium?

Question 29 - Is the Douay-Rheims the Best Bible for Catholics?

Question 30 - Have you heard of Little Ferdinand?

Question 31 - Pope Approved Invalid Mass?

Question 32 - Are You Sure You're Right About Cremation?

Question 33 - Who are the Seven Kings, Seven Mountains and the Beast of Apocalypse 17?

Question 34 - What about Garabandal?

Question 35 - When is Papal Infallibility Applicable?

Question 36 - I Disagree with your QA on Baptism of Desire.

Question 37 - Head Covering 24/7.

Question 38 - Is Robert Sungenis Being a Blind Guide?

Question 39 - What Scripture Passage Disallows Tattoos?

Question 40 - Does the name "Simon" really mean "grain of sand" in Aramaic?
Question 41 - "We're all against torture"--but Innocent IV wasn't

Question 42 - Justification & Salvation

Question 43 - Sister Lucy

Question 44 - CASB Bible

Question 45 - I Disagree with your QA on Baptism of Desire, Part II

Question 46 - Why Isn't There a Continual Breeze?

Question 47 - Question on Vatican II

Question 48 - Donating to CAI by MAIL

Question 49 - The Prodigal Son: What does it teach us about Punishment?

Question 50 - Does God punish us with sickness today?

Question 1- Geometry 101.

I came across a discussion on geocentrism and stationary satellites between you and Gary Hoge on his web site,

Marcus Grodi keeps noting the solution of many questions, phrased as either/or, lies in the realization that the situation is truly both/and.

Geocentrism or heliocentrism is another example. Galileo was so overwhelmed with the simplicity of the Copernican description of planetary motion about the sun, that he said it was true and the geocentric description, false. It was either/or. In other words, Galileo claimed that motion is absolute, not relative. He was wrong. It is relative, i.e., it depends on one's choice, within a geometry problem, of a reference point. If motion absolutely had to be referenced to the sun, it would be false to say a person walked across the room, or to say a plane flew from Chicago to LA. Describing the path of such a plane flight in reference to the sun, would be beyond the ability of most of us. Yet, any other description (and even the designation as Chicago to LA) of such a flight would be false! The path in space in reference to the sun, would be totally different in July from the path in space in reference to the sun in October!

In any geometry problem the choice of a reference point is arbitrary. It is as true to say the sun moves about the earth as to say the earth moves about the sun. The proposition, that the earth moves around the sun and not vice versa, is neither true nor false. It is meaningless. It is based on the false proposition that in geometry, the choice of a reference point can be true or false, when it is clearly arbitrary. Specifically, the proposition could only have meaning if motion were absolute about an objectively existing reference point (or coordinate system) of which there were only two possibilities, geocentric and heliocentric. Geometric reference points and coordinate systems have no objective existence. They are constructs of human thought existing only in the human mind.

Hoge argued that a geocentric description is false, because one cannot maintain the validity of the inverse square law of gravitation and the motion of a man-made satellite around the earth, at an angular velocity around the equator, such that the satellite is stationary relative to the surface of the earth, if the earth, itself, is not rotating about its polar axis at that same angular velocity. He concludes: since the earth is rotating, it cannot also be stationary.

What Hoge should have argued was that given the geocentric coordinate system, which he arbitrarily chose, and the satellite motion described, then the earth is rotating on its polar axis relative to that stationary coordinate system, while the earth is stationary relative to the satellite. This conclusion, based on the acceptance of geocentrism, cannot possibly disprove geocentrism. Also, it cannot disprove that one may not chose another geocentric coordinate system, compatible with the inverse square law of gravitational attraction, and in which the earth is not rotating on its axis.

(A) Consider the geocentric coordinate system whose origin is the center of the earth, one positive axis is polar, exiting the earth at the North Pole; one axis is through the equator and exits the earth at the international dateline at time, t; and the other orthogonal axis exits the equator 90 degrees displaced from the international dateline at time, t.

(B) Given the coordinate system of paragraph (A), to have a satellite continuously above the same spot on the equator (i.e., motionless with respect to the earth) and be compatible with the inverse square law, the earth must be rotating on its axis, IF the coordinate system (A) is taken as defining a direction through the international dateline at time, t, and maintaining that orientation, such that six hours later that same axis exits 90 degrees displaced from the dateline and the other axis, which was oriented 90 degrees from the dateline is now 180 degrees displaced. In other words, if the rotation of the earth is taken for granted.

(C) Consider, in contrast, the coordinate system of paragraph (A), but whose equatorial axes exit the earth, one at the dateline and the other 90 degrees displaced from the dateline, not only at time, t, but continually throughout time, (the Sungenis system). The earth and the satellite would be stationary with respect to this coordinate system. Yet, the inverse square law would be valid and applicable, because the location of the satellite would be referenced to an inverse-square-law, geocentric axis, spinning within the stationary earth.

The essential difference between (B) and (C) is: in (B) the earth is rotating relative to a stationary conceptual axis; in (C) the conceptual axis is rotating relative to the earth. MOTION IS RELATIVE, NOT ABSOLUTE! COORDINATE AXES ARE CONCEPTUAL, EXISTING ONLY IN THE HUMAN MIND! The choice cannot be between true and false, but only between more and less aesthetically attractive, i.e. as a matter of personal taste. There is one exception to coordinates being a matter of choice. It is the orientation of the eyes within the human skull, but this is usually and appropriately ignored in the choice of a conceptual coordinate system. It is not heliocentrism or geocentrism that is the ultimate coordinate system, but homocentrism, and actually egocentrism. It is only conceptually that one can have an observation post outside of his own body!

You may recall from analytical geometry that location and motion with respect to any coordinate system may be translated in reference to any other coordinate system. That is not to say it that it would be easy or practical to do so, or that every coordinate system is equally suited to a description of the specific location and motion under consideration. Aesthetics furnishes valid criteria for choice within problems of geometry.

Robert E. Drury

R. Sungenis: Robert, thank you for your thoughts. I am in agreement with your observations. The only thing I would add is that, if, indeed we have a centrally located and motionless Earth, then by definition, there is no relative motion, only absolute motion (at least in the vicinity of the Earth) since all measurements can be made using the immobile Earth as one of the coordinates. This is the glory, if you will, of the geocentric system. We don't have to have all kinds of Riemann geometry and tensor calculus to figure out where something is located in the universe. All we need do is use Cartesian coordinates that have the immobile Earth as their foundation.

God be with you.

Robert Sungenis


Question 2- Geocentrism Refuted?

Dear Mr. Sungenis,

Just a few days ago, while exploring a trail of links, I came across the page below. In light of the pending publication of your geocentricity book, is there anything on this page that could be perceived as a "scientific" rationale for a rotating, sun-orbiting Earth that has not been refuted in your book?


Mark R. Shea

R. Sungenis: Dear Mr. Shea,

Yes, all of the "objections" of Griff Ruby have been answered. In fact, I answered them in several emails directed precisely to Mr. Ruby sometime last year, and he had no answer to them, except to say he didn't want to accept them. Mr. Ruby is an arrogant man who thinks that just because he can spout a few mathematical formulas that this somehow proves heliocentrism. What Mr. Ruby either doesn't understand, or refuses to admit, is that every mathematical formula he uses can be coordinated to the geocentric system under the Machian/Einstienian principle that it makes no difference whether we have a rotating earth in a fixed star system, or a fixed earth in a rotating star system. The mathematics and the forces for each are precisely the same. Any scientist worth his salt will admit that heliocentrism is merely a "preferred" system, not the only system. This was proven long ago by Tycho Brahe. Unfortunately, Kepler murdered Brahe and stole his 40 years worth of notes and pressed them into service for Copernicus. There is much more intrigue concerning the history of geocentrism versus heliocentrism that I will bring out in my book.

God be with you.

Robert Sungenis


Question 3- Are there any seminaries that you would recommend?

GREETINGS FRIEND. I am a new fan to your web site. The articles are very interesting and force you to look outside the box. It has been a very troubling few weeks at having to look at our Church with such distrusting eyes. If the Holy Spirit is guiding the church, how then, can there be so much sin and bad leadership from our bishops and priests? The reason I am writing you is the following: my 14yr old son has expressed an interest in priestly vocations. But after reading about all the liberal seminaries and their homosexual tendencies, I'm afraid of what my son may come across in regards to teaching and or sexual abuse. Are there any seminaries that you would recommend that teach sound and orthodox Catholicism and screen for homosexual tendencies? I anxiously await your response and may God bless you.

Thanking you in advance for your prompt reply
in Christ, the fatboy

R. Sungenis: Fatboy, the Fraternity of St. Peter is probably your best bet right now. As for the others, I wouldn't dare send my son to a Catholic university or seminary until we get a pope who takes command of the Church and cleans it up. Unfortunately, the quickest way for your son or daughter to lose his faith is to attend a Catholic university or seminary.

Msgr. George Kelly writes: Archbishop Fulton Sheen, one Wednesday in November 1972, stood in the rear of the new papal assembly hall [at the Vatican], half-listening to Paul VI during a general audience. He was simultaneously holding conversations with American delegates to the Second Congress of Catholic Universities then in session upstairs. Later, as the Pope, upon completion of his address to the pilgrims, was being carried out of the hall, Sheen turned to the American educators and said: 'I tell my relatives and friends with college-age children to send them to secular colleges where they will have to fight for their faith, rather than to Catholic colleges where it will be taken from them.' (The Crisis of Authority: John Paul II and the American Bishops (Regnery Gateway), p. 98.


Question 4- Tycho Brahe murdered?

Dear Robert,

You sound convinced that Brahe was murdered by Kepler. It is certainly true that Brahe has been shown to be poisoned by mercury one day prior to his death. But besides murder, the other possibility is that Brahe inadvertently poisoned himself by using his own medicines that were full of mercury.

Or do you have other information that definitively lays the guilt onto Kepler? Just keeping in mind the eighth commandment...

Yours truly,
Michael Edwards-Ronning+

R. Sungenis: Michael, the authors of the book Heavenly Intrigue cover the possibilities pretty well. You might want to pick up a copy. Brahe had no reason to commit suicide. Besides, death by Mercury poisoning was slow and excruciating. He was the premier astronomer of his day, born of high nobility and dotted over by the King of Denmark. Kepler was a nobody, and he knew it. His diary reveals a most contorted mind, full of sinister plots and hatred. Kepler was Copernican; Brahe anti-Copernican; Brahe had the notes; Kepler didn't. Kepler had complete access to Brahe's alchemical laboratory, and studied up on how to make poisons. The tea leaves are all there. You'd have to be blind not to suspect Kepler, especially since Brahe had no other enemies.


Question 5- Why Can't the Moon be the Center?


I was reading the question of Kevin Rice and a question came to mind. If it is so difficult to determine if the earth is rotating why is it we assume as certain that the moon is rotating? Or do we?


R. Sungenis: Since for the moon not to be rotating around the earth, it would have to be stationary, and the sun, Earth and planets revolving around it. Mathematically, we could produce such a picture. We only prefer the sun or the Earth as the center because that has been the dividing line for the last six centuries. As a Scriptural geocentrist, the moon is not a candidate, since Scripture is clear that the moon is moving (Joshua 10:10-14).


Question 6- How Many Infallible Statements Are There?

Thank you and God bless you for continuing to answer my questions! How many ex cathedra statements are there? You mentioned only three on your Papal Infallibility tape, but other apologists have suggested that there may perhaps be another two or three. (Please, let me know if I am asking too many questions, or bothering you, I realize you are very busy).

In Christ,

R. Sungenis: Louis, the short answer to that is that we won't know how many there are unless the magisterium tells us. Until then, we'll keep getting different estimates from different people. We can all agree as a starting point, however, that there are at least three.


Question 7- A Rebuttal to the Use of the Oxford Papyri?

Mr Sungenis:

I have recently engaged a friend (and former professor of mine) in a
discussion/debate concerning the historical-critical method of biblical
exegesis(I coming from an orthodox Catholic perspective, she from a
liberal Protestant point of view) I presented to her the evidence
revealed on the Oxford papyri and I have pasted below her her attempt
to debunk it. Since I am rather a "rookie" when it comes to biblical
criticism, I was wondering if you could provide me with any
information or suggestions to give her an effective rebuttal.

Thank you in advance (and may God Bless your work!)

Robert Pickard

R. Sungenis:Robert I will address her points briefly below.

Robert – I did some research on it and it’s called the Magdalen Papyrus
(Papyrus 64) and it was actually discovered in 1901, dated to around
200 and has been at Oxford since then. Apparently what happened is that
an evangelical German named Carsten Thiede published a pretty
sensational article in 1995 redating the fragment to the latter third
of the first century, and claiming therefore, that the Gospel of
Matthew is an “eyewitness” account. Basically Thiede’s article was
before my time as a religious studies prof and no papyrologist or New
Testament scholar takes him seriously, so he’s not even discussed in
the text books, so one wouldn’t learn anything about him looking at the
most recent discussions.

R. Sungenis:With remarks like "no papyrologist or New Testament scholar takes him seriously," this professor is desperately trying to marginalize Thiede. Even if it were true, the fact that academia houses about 95% liberal scholarship which holds the unbiblical and untraditional view that Matthew did not write Matthew, no wonder no one is going to listen to Thiede. They will do anything to discredit him, since all of their illustrious careers are based on opposing Thiede. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. END

From what I’ve learned talking to my friend at
UCR and reading reviews of Thiede’s book, he didn’t do a very thorough
job. Besides, his date of the “latter one third of the first century”
actually jives with the date of 85 that most scholars give Matthew. But
it doesn’t matter much, his analysis of the script was pretty sloppy;
seeing nus where there weren’t any, putting in large reconstructions,

R. Sungenis: Oh, so now the professor wants to put Thiede on her side by claiming that Thiede's dating is in the same ballpark as hers?! This professor doesn't know what she wants. But the fact is that she can't count. Thiede places his dates just prior to 70 AD in the late 60s AD. If that is the case, then 0-33 is the first third, 34-66 is the second third, and 67-99 is the last third of the first century. So if Thiede is picking a date of 68 AD, obviously his date is in the "last third of the first century." But the professor is failing to reveal that Thiede's date COMES BEFORE 70 AD and the destruction of Jerusalem! THAT is the crucial factor. If that is the case, then Matthew wrote his own gospel, and he rightly predicted the fall of the Jews (Matthew 24), and the gospel was not written by a second generation scribe. END

One thing you should know, though, and I don’t know if this is being
presented accurately on the Catholic and fundamentalist sites: The
marginal gloss referring to Nero is not a marginal gloss on the gospel
fragment, it’s not even a marginal gloss at all. It’s a financial
transaction on a fragment of its own that was found with Papyrus 4
(Luke), a fragment that many scholars think came from the same papyrus
as P64 (the Magdalen Papyrus). So the reference to Nero’s rule was not
found on the same papyrus as the Matthean manuscript.

R. Sungenis: Nobody said it was on the same papyrus! The thesis is that the Nero reference was written during the same time as Matthew and with the same style of writing as Matthew.

reviewing Thiede also presented some excellent reasons for thinking the
Magdalen Papyrus is from 200 or later – namely, you can tell that the
fragment was part of a double-columned codex, something that doesn’t
appear till mid second century ( and it’s interesting that Thiede
completely ignores this);

R. Sungenis: Oh really? Since when does a business transaction purporting to be from the time of Nero become written up only 150 years after Nero died? END.

the script is something called Biblical
majuscule, and in his comparisons with other manuscripts from the first
century, Thiede. does not use majuscule fragments to do his comparisons
to try to date P64 to the first century, because there aren’t any –
majuscule emerges in the 2nd century. So again, either he doesn’t know
what a majuscule is or he doesn’t care, but it’s hard to even respect
someone who doesn’t know the fundamentals of the discipline he’s
writing about.

R. Sungenis: Gee, what impeccable logic. Majuscules don't appear until the 2nd century, but we'll fault Thiede who doesn't refer to them, when, in fact, Thiede doesn't need to refer to them, since he is dealing in the 1st century. END

Anyway, I’m not trying to be too nasty here, but if
we’re going to be cautious of people with agendas, then this guy and
those who use his work (because they don’t know anything about
papyrology and want to believe what he says because they need the texts
to be in the right period for their faith to be certain) are the ones
to be careful of.

R. Sungenis: Yes, we certainly want to be "cautious of people with agendas." Thank you for the warning. I know precisely how to apply it.


Question 8-Finding a good New Testament?

Dear Sir,
Do you know of a complete New Testament with a good Traditional Catholic spiritual,devotional commentary suitable for spiritual reading and material for personal prayer ? Thank you very much,
Alan Robinson

R. Sungenis: Yes, get the Douay-Rheims Bible with the George Haydock commentary. You can get it from Catholic Treasures in Monrovia, California. Tell them Robert Sungenis sent you!


Question 9- Catechism vs. the Bible?

How do I respond to someone who asks "why do you need the Catechism when you have the Bible?" Also, is one more important than the other?

Thank you,

Esther Clouse
Houston, TX

R. Sungenis: Because in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word is confirmed, which the Bible, incidentally, teaches us (2 Cor 13:1).


Question 10- Who Restrains Me from Sin, Me or God or Both?

Hey Robert,
I was wondering if, as a Catholic, I could believe that any good or restraining act from sin is not of my own power, it is purely by the grace and power of God, especially when it comes from refraining from habitual sin. Even "the choice" I make to do good comes from the grace of God, because on my own power it is impossible at times to choose to refrain from sin (Romans 7:15-20). And therefore it is not really I that chooses to do good it is actually the grace of God within me that chooses to turn to Him and do good (Romans 9:16). Is this view okay??
In Him,

R. Sungenis: Michael, we do have certain "natural powers" to refrain from sin, although even that natural power was given to us by God's grace. (See the use of "natural powers" in Canon 1 of Session 6 of the Council of Trent -- although we must also say that any obedience from "natural powers" does not justify us before God). Above our natural powers, God can give us Actual grace to perform a good act, or to help us put ourselves in the way of grace. In either case, we must cooperate with the power that God gives us. If we do cooperate, then God will lead us to sanctifying grace, as was the case of Cornelius, and then we attain justification.


Question 11- How Do we View Popes Who Authorized Burning at the Stake?

Now, the question. In your searing indictment of the evils of various popes, you have made this Lutheran wonder, what reason do you have for thinking that the Bishop of Rome is indeed *the* successor of Peter? I mean, it sounds rather as though the papacy has done more harm than good to the Church over the centuries. Yet I ask this question in honesty, realizing fully as you remind us that the priests and kings of Israel and Judah--though anointed by God--also led the people into sin, or at least often winked at idolatry.

My question is actually multiple.

A. I am not aware of a bishop of Rome claiming to occupy the Chair of Peter before Damasus, yet this is post-Constantine. Could that have been a claim influenced by the worldly character of a now state-sponsored Church? Even though Rome tied itself to Peter, the Eastern bishops in Council (Constantinople I and Chalcedon) seem rather to tie Rome's prestige to being capital of the Empire, and exalt the position of Constantinople accordingly. These are two rather contradictory ways of looking at Rome!

R. Sungenis: There might be no specific statements from previous popes, but the evidence that they were indeed understood as occupying the papal chair is quite clear. Even Harnack, the liberal Protestant, said this was undeniable. (That is one thing good about liberal scholarship -- they have no axe to grind in admitting such things, since they don't plan on obeying them in any case).

B. I believe the Orthodox claim that the Chair of Peter (and the keys) are shared by the bishops of the Church, and not given merely to *one* person. Compare the pharisees and sadduccees, who sat in Moses' seat--Moses did not have *one* successor (except perhaps Joshua, but Joshua did not lay hands on any successor that I am aware of).

R. Sungenis: The Greek of Matthew 16:18-19 is very clear. All the nouns are addressed to Peter and all the verbs are singular, and they all center around the "keys." No passage in the NT says that keys were given to the other apostles or the bishops of other jurisdictions.

C. I am particularly disturbed that at least from Innocent IV ( I am relying on memory here) onwards, and his bull "Ad Extirpande" in I believe 1234 A.D., torture was indicated to be permissible to use against heretics by the papal inquisition. In addition, many popes over the next three centuries then *mandated* that magistrates had to kill twice-convicted heretics by burning them at the stake, on pain of themselves being excommunicated and burnt themselves. This strikes me as particularly demonic and not particularly an example of the way of Christ who came to save sinners not destroy them, and I find it especially alarming coming as a series of commands in papal bulls.
Leo X in his bull "Exsurge, Domine" against Luther (1520) in point 33 condemns Luther for teaching that "burning heretics is against the Holy Spirit". Since Leo X is officially condemning Luther's *teaching* in this bull, it means Leo is *teaching* that burning of heretics is okay.

R. Sungenis: How about stoning of criminals and heretics in the Old Testament, under command of God? How about slaying women and children with the sword when conquering non-Jewish cities, under command of God?

It is not until Pius XII, and later Vatican II, that we find the use of torture and such things as burning of heretics condemned. I believe Pope Nicholas may have condemned the use of torture against heretics c. 866 A.D., but the Medieval popes ignored this and ordered the opposite. I guess my main problem, Dr. Sungenis, is this: if the main purpose of the Pope is to be the rock-foundation of the Church, and to protect us against errors in faith and morals, then how could we have the agonizingly wrong-headed phenomenon of popes *commanding* that heretics be burned alive? That is not mere papal sin, it is rather commanding others to sin on pain of excommunication, and actually *teaching* that burning heretics is okay--and that must surely be a major error in teaching. (I can't think of anything more soul destroying than lighting on fire the flesh of another person and making them burn alive. I'd love your thoughts on these things.

And believe me, I write as a Lutheran who is, nevertheless, very well disposed towards the Catholic Church. I say the rosary, am most interested in Marian apparitions, and firmly believe in the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Frankly, if the Bishop of Rome truly is the successor of Peter, I would want to honor him as such.

R. Sungenis: And look at the state of the Church when popes go to the opposite extreme of allowing evil to exist without punishing it. I personally would have no problem with reinstituting stoning for formal heretics and those convicted of capital crimes. If you don't like burning at the stake because it seems cruel, I'm sure there are other capital punishments that could be implemented to do the same thing that would be more acceptable to you and I in our culture.


Question 12- Are the Pope's comments in Fulda recorded?

In your fascinating and devastating article on the Third Secret of Fatima not being revealed, you mentioned that Pope John Paul II's comments (I believe in Fulda, Germany?) about entire continents being covered with oceans and millions dying from one moment to another, were recorded.

Have you heard this recording? Who has it?

Surely this would be the most damning evidence against the Vatican's claims.

Pastor Michael Edwards-Ronning

R. Sungenis: I'm sorry, Michael, but I don't have that information. I'm sure its locked away in a place so no one ever finds it :)


Question 13- Who is Alen Ames?

Mr. Sungenis, thank you for always responding promptly to all my questions. My brother is into a man named Alen Ames who claims to have divine revelations about the life of our Lord. He has written a few books such as: Through the Eyes of Jesus, A Story of Love, Heaven Speaks... He also claims to have healing powers. I am skeptical. I would like to know if you know anything about him or if you know someone whom I could ask about him.

Soldier of Christ,

R. Sungenis: Jaime, I'll be brief. RUN, don't walk, away from Alen Ames. He is a false prophet.


Question 14- Baptism of Desire?

Dear Mr. Sungenis:

In question 34 of the July Q&As, your correspondent Michael espouses
the heretical theory that men cannot be saved by the desire for
baptism. This teaching is contrary to Vatican II, Trent, St. Thomas
Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, and the 1949 Letter of the Holy
Office to Archbishop Cushing concerning the doctrine of Fr. Feeney.
Indeed, St. Alphonsus Liguori states:

Now it is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by
virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, "de presbytero non baptizato" and of
the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one
can be saved "without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it".
(Theologia Moralis, Bk. 6, nn. 95-7.)

The teaching concerning invincible ignorance (which, while not de fide,
is the common and safe teaching of theologians) was espoused by
approved pre-conciliar theologians such as Charles Cardinal Journet,
who writes in his 1951 "Church of the Word Incarnate":

"No salvation outside the Church" is true of those who do not belong to
the Church, which in herself is visible, either visibly (corporaliter)
or even invisibly, either by the sacraments (sacramentaliter) or even
in spirit (mentaliter); either fully (re) or even by desire (voto);
either in accomplished act or even in virtual act.[86] The axiom does
not concern the just who, without yet belonging to the Church visibly,
in accomplished act (re), do so invisibly, in virtual act, in spirit,
by desire (mentaliter, voto), that is to say in virtue of the
supernatural righteousness of their lives, even while, through
insurmountable ignorance, they know nothing of the sanctity, or even of
the existence, of the Church.[87]

The footnotes cite such luminaries as St. Thomas, St. Robert
Bellarmine, and Suarez, as well as other theologians.


R. Sungenis: Thank you, Patrick, for sharing these things. I agree, and it is clear, that the Council of Trent teaches that justification can come from the desire of baptism. Those who teach otherwise end up with having to make a distinction between justification and salvation, which is nowhere taught in Scripture or the Church.


Question 15- Marian Apparitions and the Protestant Rapture?

Dear Robert,

Firstly, thank you for the wonderful service you are providing, it is very much appreciated. For example, your correspondence with the Ultra-Traditionalist Catholic in defense of the Holy Father was very informative.

I am a Catholic Convert myself, formerly a protestant. I believe that what was taught by the Church Fathers and decreed by the Popes through the centuries cannot be contradicted, thus I abhor modernism and the various other isms rearing their ugly heads all too frequently nowadays. I believe also, after much study, that evolution is simply absurd. Even more absurd is the fact that most of us accept this fairy tale without one iota of proof.

I have a growing awareness and appreciation of the uniqueness of Our Blessed Mother and God’s special design for her; however I have a great distrust of the modern marian movement. Personally, I am starting to believe that Achill Island, Medjugore, et al are designed to cause further division in our Church by promoting personal opinion over the authority of the Holy Father. However, I am also mindful of the fact that the Ark of the Covenant (Mary - the New Ark) always preceded the army of Israel before battle, and that as it was through Our Blessed Mother that Our Blessed Lord came the first time, perhaps She will be used to prepare His Second Coming? If you could shed any wisdom on these matters I would be very grateful.

R. Sungenis: David, Scripture assures us that, whenever there is a movement of God, the Devil makes his own counterfeit movement. This is why there is so much demonic activity when Christ comes on the scene. We see this way back in the time of Moses when the Egyptian magicians performed some of the same feats as Moses. Thus, especially in the wicked day in which we live, and because of the deception all around us, the only certain thing I would recommend is to follow ONLY apparitions that have been approved by the Church. Simply throw everything else in the trashcan. This is especially true since the bishop of Medjugorje has refused to legitimize the apparitions there. I know a lot about Medjugorje, enough to know it is one of the biggest frauds ever to hit this planet. END

Secondly, the Protestants teach of a rapture. The saints and various visionaries talk about a great Chastisement. Do you think that during the Chastisement the faithful will be protected in some miraculous way – perhaps akin to the rapture, or is the protestant understanding of the rapture a result of misinterpreting scriptures?

R. Sungenis: Both the "Chastisement" (at least the way it is purported as happening) and the "Rapture" are bogus. The former is a misinterpretation or distortion of some visionaries, the latter is a misinterpretation of Scripture.

Finally, if I may be so bold as to ask, what is your opinion of Father Malachi Martin? So much of what he says seems to be spot on. The fact, however, that the likes of Art Bell and the New York Times gave him so much exposure leaves me thoroughly confused.

If you could advise in any way possible, I would be most grateful.

Kindest Regards

David Harper

Gloria In Te Domine!

R. Sungenis: I wouldn't worry about Bell or the NYT giving some press to Fr. Martin. Martin made a name for himself through his provocative books, and Bell and the NYT know a popular subject when they see one. As for Fr. Martin, his analysis is spot on. He was a Vatican insider, and he should know what was going on. As for the allegations against him (an affair) he was recently exonerated from all that, since the Jesuit who had accused him recanted that he made it all up to get back at Fr. Martin.


Question 16- Geocentric research?

Dear Dr. Sungenis,

I must say I now support the geocentric theory after reading and reflecting on the various articles you have written concerning geocentricity and the Catholic faith. I am writing to ask about any good sources (such as books, magazines, web sites, etc.) that can be useful in giving strong support to the geocentric theory, especially when debating on the subject. I imagine such sources you may suggest would present the Tychonic model as you promote for a geocentric universe. I also realized (though you could have mentioned already in an article in your web site which I have not yet read) that Johannes Kepler calculated his mathematical formulas using Tycho Brahe's data, observations, and results based on a geocentric universe, whereas Kepler made his formulas fit into a heliocentric system instead. Did he do his calculations right and consistently, I wonder? I have mentioned the geocentric theory to some people I know, and obviously they think I am crazy. That is one reason why I am asking for sources that will the geocentric position. And I wholeheartedly agree that how we do look at the universe does truly affect our salvation and how we look God's creation. I also may ask then of the support the can be used for the relationship of the structure of the universe to our salvation as put forth by Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium. Thank you very much, Dr. Sungenis. May God and the Blessed Mother bless you, your staff, and all the work you and your staff do for Church and the Catholic faith.



R. Sungenis: Teodoro, I'm glad you see the light. As for sources, contact Mr. and Mrs. Kramer at for more information on Geocentrism. God be with you.


Question 17- Were there Two Covenants, the Abrahamic and Mosaic?

Good Morning, Robert: In my readings in the O. T. it appears there are two covenants: the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant? Could you give brief acct. of the difference between the two? Also see that it is the Abrahamic Covenant that is mentioned in Romans; not the Mosaic. Not sure what to think of that. In a reading Monday during Mass, it spoke of the 3 visitors to Abraham [who, before leaving announced that Sara would conceive and give birth] and Abraham had a calf prepared to feed them. What caught my attention was the word, 'calf', rather than 'lamb'. Abraham had access to lambs but he choose a steer. That led to my reading and discovering the possible existence of the 2 covenants.
Any clarity you could give on this would be greatly appreciated.

R. Sungenis: Anne, yes, there were two covenants, the Abrahamic and the Mosaic. The Abrahamic covenant also had two parts, the Jewish part and the Jew/Gentile part.

The Jewish part of the Abrahamic covenant transposed into the Mosaic covenant, and they both ceased at the First Coming of Christ. (Hebrews 8:7, 13; 9:10).

The Jew/Gentile part of the Abrahamic covenant transposed into the New Covenant (Cf., Romans 4; Galatians 2-4; Hebrews 8-10)


Question 18- Is Cremation Allowed?

Hi Robert. I just read your answer to Matt who asked about Padre Pio's body being missing. I had read about that too a couple years ago, and it got me thinking about the value of my body. Here is a man who carried the wounds of our Lord for 50 years, and now, apparently, God is honoring his sacrifice by this miracle. I have many friends and family (all Protestants) who want to be cremated. I feel now, as a Catholic, like it would be dishonoring to God to ask my family to cremate my body. Can you tell me if scripture has any references to burial, and the value of the body after we die. I know we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit while alive, but what about afterwards. The Church now allows for cremation, was that started after Vat. 2? Thanks so much for all the work you do. You have really helped me. BTW your Matthew Study Bible is awesome...I read it every morning.

R. Sungenis: Nancy, there has been no official statement from the Church allowing cremation, so, whatever has seeped into Catholic consciousness about its allowance is purely anecdotal. The Church has always prohibited cremation, as did the Old Testament. Scripture assures us that dead bodies will be brought back to life at the last day (John 5:28-29) and that is the reason the Church has not allowed anyone to transgress on that eventuality. Cremation is subconscious attempt to escape the judgment prophesied by John 5:28-29).


Question 19- Universal Salvation?

Dear Sir,
Given the widespread acceptance of the heresy of Universal Salvation
(either overtly or by silence) I am wondering if you have ever written an
analysis on the issue. I am unable to locate one on your web site. Thank you.

Daniel Peck

R. Sungenis: Daniel, we haven't addressed it directly, but we have addressed the current pontiff's leanings in that direction, which you can find in the paper "When a Pope Errs."


Question 20- What is the Proper Translation of Romans 5:12?

Mr. Sungenis
I was wondering if you could comment on the greek in Romans 5:12. I was reading the catholic encyclopedia on Original sin, and it said that Romans 5:12 could be translated as "in whom all have sinned" and not "because all have sinned as is done in most modern translations. It said that this is how it was most often translated in the west during the early church. If translated as because all have sinned (personal sin) it would seem to form a contradiction with verse 14 which says that death reigns over those who do not sin after the pattern of Adam. If though taken to be in reference to Adam's sin it would seem to complement verse 14 in that man inherits death from Adam even if he personally has not committed some sin. Is there any validity to taking verse 12 as referring to Adam, or am I just reaching for a proof for original sin?

thanks for any help

R. Sungenis: Kyle, the translation "because all have sinned" is indeed off the mark. Actually, the Greek (epi ho) literally reads "upon which" or "for which" all have sinned, that is, it is upon the sin of Adam that all other men are classed as sinners. The word "because" seeped into the translations because "for which" is sometimes understood as "because."


Question 21- Preaching Error from the Pulpit?

Dear Robert.

Hi. You have a wonderful web site that does a great service for those of us struggling to keep the faith. I would really appreciate it if you would post this e-mail on your web site and spread the word regarding a rather disturbing experience my wife and I had at mass on Sunday July 25, 2004.

I am writing in hopes that you could provide me with some direction as to articles or other materials listed on your web site that can be used to refute clearly erroneous teachings that I heard preached from the altar as gospel “truth”.

My wife and I are fairly new to the greater Milwaukee metropolitan region and have searched long and hard to find a parish which at least evinces some modicum of orthodoxy. With that in mind our search has led us to regularly attend mass at Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary - Help of Christians. (Typically referred to as “Holy Hill”). Holy Hill is a Marian shrine located in Hubertus, Wisconsin and is operated by discalced Carmelite Friars. (Here is a link to their web site: At times certain friars’ orthodoxy has left me scratching my head, but I have always been able to get past these bumps in the road by convincing myself that I must simply be misunderstanding what a homilist was trying to convey. Unfortunately, there was no convincing myself otherwise given what we were presented with on July 25th.

My wife and I attended the 11 o’clock mass this past Sunday. Please recall that the first reading dealt with Sodom and Gomor'rah and Abraham’s intercession on their behalf. In relation the Gospel reading in which Jesus preaches the values of persistence and perseverance in prayer, Father Paul, opted to dedicate his homily to an explanation of how the Gospel was meant to teach the value of hospitality and what was the “true” sin that resulted in the destruction of Sodom and Gomor'rah.

Would you care to venture a guess as to Father Paul’s opinion of what was the true sin of Sodom and Gomor'rah? If you said “inhospitality” you would be right. Father Paul asserted that “inhospitality” rather than acts against nature (ie homosexuality) necessitated the destruction of Sodom and Gomor’rah.

What follows are some of the spiritual insights & highlights (my emphasis added) of Father Paul’s homily. Needless to say, I did not have the foresight to think of taking a tape-recorder with me to mass so that I could record Father Paul’s homily. Therefore, what follows is not a verbatim recitation of exactly what was said. However, I did have the presence of mind to take out pen and paper and try to write down as quickly as possible everything Father Paul said as he was saying it. Be that as it may, I am willing to attest that my notes are 99% accurate and are not embellished in any way shape or form.

The Wisdom of Father Paul:

*The sin that Sodom and Gomor'rah were guilty of was the sin of inhospitality.

*The people of Sodom and Gomor'rah were guilty of violating the “commandment to be hospitable”.

*God is not a god of hate. To be inhospitable is to be hateful. Further, to be inhospitable is to become “less than human”.

*The sin of Sodom and Gomor'rah had nothing to do with sexuality. The story of Sodom and Gomor'rah was twisted so as to place it in the context of sexuality. (Note: At no point during his homily did Father Paul actually come out and actually mention the term “homosexuality” or being guilty of homosexual relations. Also, please note that the emphasis on the term “twisted” is Father Paul’s emphasis, not mine.)

*The sin of Sodom and Gomor'rah was twisted by the early translators of the bible so as to take on a sexual context. (Note: Father Paul used the term “twisted” several times throughout his homily. Again, here, the emphasis on the term “twisted” is Father Paul’s emphasis, not mine.)

*The sin of Sodom and Gomor'rah was misinterpreted as having to do with sexuality because an early translator of the Hebrew bible chose the wrong verb. As a result, for many many years Christianity (and to some extent Judaism) has “misrepresented” the nature of the great evil perpetuated by the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomor’rah.

*The church has never taught that the Greek translation of the bible was divinely inspired. Rather, the church has always taught that the Hebrew version of the bible is the only divinely inspired version of the bible.

*The sin of Sodom and Gomor'rah was twisted by early church founders so as to use religion as a means of doing violence to those that they felt were guilty of a sin that they personally interpreted to be greater than the sin of inhospitality. (Note: The context of Father Paul’s statement suggested that he was deliberately attempting to be very careful not to impugn the early church fathers, but rather some misguided and unidentified “founders”.)

*Jesus mentions Sodom and Gomor'rah only twice in all of the gospels. Neither time does Jesus mention Sodom and Gomor'rah in connection with any sexual context. Why is this so? By the way, Jesus was God! By the way, Jesus was there! By the way, because Jesus was God and Jesus was there, He knew the true significance of the scripture passage and what Sodom and Gomor'rah was meant to teach us and what it did not mean. (All statements followed by an exclamation point are strictly Father Paul’s emphasis.)

*Had the people of Sodom and Gomor'rah known Jesus Christ, had they been open to him, they would have been saved.

*The people of Sodom and Gomor'rah were guilty of behaving in a sub-human manner. They were a haughty and mean people. They would beat their neighbor. Why do you think that only the men went out to greet the strangers? Why didn’t the women go with the men? Because the men were sent to beat up the strangers. (Note: Robert, I know that this last statement must sound absolutely ridiculous. But, honest to God, Father Paul uttered this very statement from the altar.)

The preceding statements were just a few of the “pearls of wisdom” that I was able to scribble down while writing at a furious pace during Father Paul’s homily. Robert, I would greatly like to respond to Father Paul and set the record straight. (I plan on writing to him shortly.) Therefore, I was hoping that you could help me. I am pretty sure that I have read materials on your web site refuting the position that Father Paul asserts. Could you point me to where I could find clear and concise information that I could use to address Father Paul’s errors? Also, is there any truth to the distinction that Father Paul made where he stated that only the Hebrew bible is divinely inspired, but not the Greek version?

Robert, if you do post this note and my questions on your web site, please feel free to attribute my full name to the e-mail.

I am a practicing attorney who could be disbarred if I were found to be spreading malicious lies and half-truths. That being said, trust me, I have absolutely no interest in risking my livelihood in furtherance of some personal vendetta. Thus, I stand by everything that I have written here. Further Father Paul’s remarks were said in the presence of several hundred people who were in attendance at the July 25th 11 o’clock mass. Therefore, try as he might to disavow having said any of the preceding, there were plenty of other witnesses who can attest to the content of this e-mail.

Lastly, I note that the Carmelite Friars are busy trying to raise $5.7 million dollars to renovate the entire Shrine. (Over $3 million dollars has been raised thus far.) In fact, Father Paul gleefully announced at the end of mass that enough money has been raised so that renovations can begin in September. However, the parish can expect a second collection basket to be passed around for the indefinite future until the Friars can raise enough money pay for all the renovations. Holy Hill is a shrine of considerable renown throughout the upper Midwest and receives a large number of visitors throughout the year. Therefore, I have no doubt that the Friars will most certainly reach their financial goal. What I also don’t doubt is that the Carmelite Friars of Holy Hill will never receive another nickel from me again. I do hope that anyone reading this e-mail at your web site will decide to do the same and withhold any contributions as well, if ever they decide to pay Holy Hill a visit.

Thanks in advance for your insight and feedback.


Nicholas Manno

Germantown, Wisconsin

R. Sungenis: Thank you, Nicholas. It will be posted, without comment in our QandA section. God be with you.


Question 22- St. Louis de Montfort's morning offering?

Mr. Sungenis,

St. Louis de Montfort's morning offering says this: "...As a token of my love I dedicate myself to you with all that I have...I present this offering to you dear Mother, united with the dispositions of the heart of Jesus, and with all the Masses to be celebrated today throughout the world." I have a hard time praying this because the Mass is only meant to be offered to God the Father, not to Mary. But here in de Montfort's offering, he is offering the Mass to Mary as a sign of dedication/consecration to her. I am confused by this kind of language. Can you explain? Hope you are well.


R. Sungenis: Damien, sometimes the saints get carried away with their language about Mary. Alphonsus Ligouri does this often. However, if we interpret the "offering to Mary" as that which she then gives to the Father, there is no problem. The saints often used Mary as a conduit to the Father without mentioning the Father's name..


Question 23- Petros/petra?

dear mr. sungenis,

i know that matthew had to use the masculine "petros" to refer to peter in matthew 16:18, but why did he not then use "petros" the second time instead of "petra"?


R. Sungenis: Because "petros" is a proper name that can only be used once in order to leave room for the noun "petra" to identify the application of the proper noun "petros." We do the same in English. We don't say: "John is a John," we say, "John is a boy."


Question 24- What to do with the PBC's statements on Fundamentalism?

Dear Robert,

I will soon be attending a series of Archdiocesan catechetical workshops for Catholic school teachers that address a variety of Church-related topics.One of the required documents for the workshops is the 1994 Pontifical Biblical Commission document The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church. In reviewing this document, I found several statements in Section F. Fundamentalist Interpretation that were confusing. While I don't consider myself a "fundamentalist" in the historical/doctrinal sense, some of the following quotes seemed to touch on beliefs that I thought were a part of Catholicism. I'd very much appreciate your comments concerning the commission, this document, and the quotes. You are a source of help that I have come to trust.


" it tends to treat the biblical text as if it had been dictated word for word by the Spirit"

"undue stress upon the inerrancy of certain details in the biblical texts, especially in what concerns historical events or supposedly scientific truth"

R. Sungenis:Obviously, this is the liberal hermeneutic that only things related to salvation in Scripture are without error. This comes from the liberals cockeyed interpretation of Vatican II's Dei Verbum 11 "for the sake of our salvation." Raymond Brown and his liberal colleagues have stated in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary p. 1169, that this phrase means that Scritpure contains errors concerning science and history. They are wrong, of course, since the Church has never said so.

"In what concerns the Gospels, fundamentalism does not take into account the development of the Gospel tradition, but naively confuses the final stage of this tradition (what the evangelists have written) with the initial (the words and deeds of the historical Jesus).

R. Sungenis: This comes from the liberal's distorted interpretation of the 1964 PBC statement about the Gospels. The liberals insist that the Gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but by second or third generation Christians who embellished the accounts. As such, the PBC document isn't worth the paper its written on. See my essay on "Raymond Brown and The Demise of Catholic Scripture Scholarship" in Catholic Family News, the last article appearing in July 2004.

"It accepts the literal reality of an ancient, out-of-date cosmology simply because it is found expressed in the Bible."

R. Sungenis: And they accept an unproven, multi-opinionated, atheistic cosmology from evolutionary science. Obviously, whoever wrote the PBC document has lost his faith and doesn't trust the Bible as the Word of God.


Question 25- Christ's propitiatory sacrifice - necessary or most fitting?

Most theologians and apologists of the day say that Christ's sacrifice was the "most fitting" way to redeem us, but not the "necessary" way. Of course, Jesus' sacrifice was God's supreme act of love for us. But the Council of Trent (in its canons on both justification and the Eucharist) teaches that God was propitiated by Jesus' sacrifice, just as Isaiah 53 says. The Fathers also teach about propitiation for expiation. Jesus also asks the Father if the cup could pass from Him, but the Father willed Him to suffer it. I believe you also wrote an article on this in connection with the movie The Passion.

My question - if God desired this propitiation to turn from His wrath to mercy, than how could He have been propitiated any other way? Could He have been propitiated by less suffering, or by Jesus the God-man leading a long life of heroic virtue? Are these theologians wrong to say that this was the "most fitting" way, but not the "necessary" way? This is such a critical question to our understanding of the Atonement. I look forward to your answer.


R. Sungenis: John, I think the question is moot, since "necessary" implies that there could have been another way, less severe, that Christ could have accomplished the Atonement. This is similar to the nominalistic speculation of the 1200-1400s, in which theologians were saying that God could do anything He wanted, even using a donkey to procure the Atonement, simply because He is God and can do whatever He wants. The fact is that God cannot do "anything He wants," if by that we mean that God can do something outside His own character. Of course, someone could argue that whatever God chooses is right, and therefore if he chose a donkey it would be right automatically, but the fact remains, when Scripture is faced with this question, it does not answer it in the nominalistic way. It takes sides, and says, "It is impossible for God to lie" (Titus 1:2). From this we have an antithesis set up, that is, that there are certain things God cannot do. He cannot make a square circle because a square circle is a lie. He cannot create another God because another God would be a lie. The same with the Atonement. If God did not chose what must have been the only and proper propitiation (considering that there are competing forms of propitiation), then it would have been a lie for God to chose another method. What was done was "necessary" in order to conform to the character of God, which is all truth and righteousness.


Question 26- How Do we View Popes Who Authorized Burning at the Stake? Part II


My response is twofold:

1. Rather than rely on the sword of iron (or calling down fire from heaven like James and John wanted to)--and remembering the words of Our Lord to Peter, "whoever lives by the sword will die by the sword"--isn't it really incumbent upon the Church to rely on the *Sword of the Word of God*, not on capital punishment?

R. Sungenis: She relies on both.

I fully agree with you that heresy is destructive. So, like St Paul in 1 Corinthians 5, we ought to be excommunicating heretics; but Paul didn't get his sword out and behead them! Nor did he burn them at the stake.

R. Sungenis: He handed him over to the civil authorities ("Satan") for the "destruction of the flesh" (civil punishment). He could do so because he already taught the Romans that the civil authorities "do not carry the sword in vain" (Romans 13:1-7).

And, my main concern is rather with the contradiction involved between Nicholas I, Pius XII, Vatican II on one hand (which apparently taught against use of torture and capital punishment in cases of conscience), and Innocent IV, Leo X and a whole string of Medieval popes who taught and commanded magistrates to torture and burn heretics. You see, my question is on the subject of teaching consistency and infallibility.

R. Sungenis: We're all against torture, but Capital punishment has been the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church. The only one who has given his personal opinion otherwise is John Paul II, but there has been no dogmatic change in the belief.

2. As a Lutheran, I was trained to see the Old Covenant as involving the curse of the Law, in order to "whip God's people into shape" as it were. Galatians 3 and 4, the Law as a disciplinarian tutor to lead us to Christ. Yes, we *do* deserve death, and the Old Covenant pointed that out to us! Yet, we are under the New Covenant of Grace, in which I have been taught we use the power of the Holy Spirit, the Sword of the Word of God, and the Holy and Blessed Sacraments as our "weapons" to put to death the sinful nature and bring forth a regenerate spirit and a new creation.

R. Sungenis: Of course, but sin is still sin, and it needs to be punished.

So, yes, God orders stoning under the Old Covenant. But it seems to me there was One who said, "Let the one without sin cast the first stone." He preferred other means than the death penalty!

R. Sungenis: John 8 is not for the purpose of condemning the punishment of stoning, but of condemning the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who were trying to trap Jesus.

I'm really not wanting to argue with you, and I deeply respect you, Dr. Sungenis. But I am concerned about the seeming contradiction on torture and capital punishment in cases of conscience and heresy.

Yours in our dear and blessed Lord and God, Jesus Christ,
Michael Edwards-Ronning+

R. Sungenis: I think I have answered the apparent contradiction.


Question 27- The Novus Ordo

Mr. Sungenis,

Namaste! I just discovered your website and perhaps you are the one who can answer my question. With so many "Traditional" websites saying to avoid the Novus Ordo Mass I am very confused. Thus my question to you is: Is the Novus Ordo Mass valid?

Thank you,

Kavi Chandra

R. Sungenis: Yes, it is valid, and by "valid" we mean that the Eucharist is confected into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the Novus Ordo, by admission of the Vatican itself, it a Protestantized mass designed specifically for ecumenism with non-Catholics, whereas the Traditional mass was made specifically for the Catholic faithful, and only for them. Therefore, those who criticize the Novus Ordo on that basis are indeed correct, but avoid anyone who says that the Novus Ordo is an invalid mass. If that were the case, then we would not have a Catholic Church, and the gates of hell would prevail.


Question 28- Is Catholic Lay Apologetics Approved by the Magisterium?

Re. the May 2004 question you received pertaining to Pope Alexandar IV's injunction against disputing with heretics, Leo XIII's "Sapientiae Christianae" might interest you, Mr. Sungenis. The relevant portion appears below.

15. ... Now, faith, as a virtue, is a great boon of divine grace and goodness; nevertheless, the objects themselves to which faith is to be applied are scarcely known in any other way than through the hearing. "How shall they believe Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Since, then, faith is necessary for salvation, it follows that the word of Christ must tie preached. The office, indeed, of preaching, that is, of teaching, lies by divine right in the province of the pastors, namely, of the bishops whom "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule the Church of God." It belongs, above all, to the Roman Pontiff, vicar of Jesus Christ, established as head of the universal Church, teacher of all :hat pertains to morals and faith.
16. No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. "All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Saviour, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith." Let each one, therefore, bear in mind that he both can and should, so far as may be, preach the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes. In respect, consequently, to the duties that bind us to God and the Church, it should be borne earnestly in mind that in propagating Christian truth and warding off errors the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play.

I imagine you've already read this Encyclical; I just thought I'd remind you of it since it seems relevant...

God bless : )

Tracy Elizabeth Tucciarone López

R. Sungenis: Thank you, Tracy. We will immediately put this on our QA board for others to see. God bless you for bringing it to our attention.


Question 29- Is the Douay-Rheims the Best Bible for Catholics?

Dear Mr. Robert Sungenis

First off you have a great web site, your articles are amazing and very convincing especially those on science issues (I'm 16 and go to public school where evolution is the Supreme Dogma). My question concerns Bibles. I've read that the best translation is the RSV-CE from Ignatius press. I've also read that douay-rheims is in fact closer in spirit to the KJV and shouldn't be used. Also that modern translations (RSV-CE) have taken into account documents St. Jerome probably didn't have. I suppose my question is whether the Douay-Rheims is in fact the best,what are the reasons for it(other than the whole "it was translated from the Vulgate") , and what arguements can be used to counter the attacks on the Douay-Rheims? Thanks for all the work you do.

In Christ and Mary,
Thomas Gonzalez

R. Sungenis: Thomas, whoever told you the Douay-Rheims is "closer in spirit to the KJV" doesn't know what he is talking about. The KJV was modeled after the DR, since the DR did such a great job with the translation, but the "spirit" of the DR is entirely Catholic, whereas the KJV did its best to eliminate Catholic ideas from its translation.

As for Jerome, no one has any proof that he didn't have the best manuscripts available. In fact, being much closer to the original autographs and its immediate copies, Jerome probably had better manuscripts than we have today. I have done a lot of study on textual criticism, and I can tell you that all the hoopla over the "new" manuscripts is just that, hoopla. The so-called "new" manuscripts (Codices Aleph, Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, et al) have many internal discrepancies among themselves. Unfortunately, the RSV and latter translations, based on liberal scholarship, began preferring these "new" manuscripts.

As for the RSV itself, it is not a bad translation, but it often takes liberties with the Hebrew and Greek, slanting the translationi toward Protestant theology. Even the Catholic edition of the RSV (the RSVCE) has many of these Protestantisms remaining, since the liberal Catholics who worked on the RSVCE were already embibing Protestant doctrine (e.g., justification by faith alone, etc), as well as trying to demote other Catholic doctrines (e.g., Mary, transubstantiation, ect).

As for the Vulgate, you won't find a more faithful translation of the Greek anywhere. Jerome was absolutely meticulous in his effort to correspond the Latin to the Greek, and he took absolutely no liberties with the translation. This is why in 1979 John Paul II reiterated the Latin Vulgate as the official translation of the Catholic Church. Moreover, it is usually the case that Douay-Rheims bibles have conservative commentary in them, as opposed to the New American Bible which was translated and given footnotes by liberal Catholics. Those notes, as you can tell by our running series on the NAB on our website, contain many heretical ideas and concepts, the main one being that holy writ is rife with historical errors.

I hope that helps.


Question 30- Have You Heard of Little Ferdinand?

I saw you answered a question from Jaime about Alan Ames. He has been interviewed with Mary Lou McCall on FOCUS TV from Louisiana. Have you also heard of a guy Ferdinand Ricconti ( probably not spelled correctly) They refer to him as Little Ferdinand.

R. Sungenis: No, but if "Little Ferdinand" is into dreams, visions and prophesying events and other supernatural phenomenon, he is to be avoided.


Question 31- Pope Approved Invalid Mass?

Hi again, Mr. Sungenis! I have a question re: your response to April 2004's Question 16. You wrote:

"As for the pope, no, he cannot be wrong about the validity of the [Novus Ordo] Mass since that is an issue of dogma. If the pope were to approve an invalid form of the mass then he simply could not be the pope."

I'm hoping you will comment on John Paul II's "Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist Between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East" which contains approval of a "Mass" that is entirely without consecration. The relevant text:

3. The Anaphora of Addai and Mari

The principal issue for the Catholic Church in agreeing to this request, related to the question of the validity of the Eucharist celebrated with the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, one of the three Anaphoras traditionally used by the Assyrian Church of the East. The Anaphora of Addai and Mari is notable because, from time immemorial, it has been used without a recitation of the Institution Narrative. As the Catholic Church considers the words of the Eucharistic Institution a constitutive and therefore indispensable part of the Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer, a long and careful study was undertaken of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, from a historical, liturgical and theological perspective, at the end of which the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith on January 17th, 2001 concluded that this Anaphora can be considered valid. H.H. Pope John Paul II has approved this decision.

(This may be read online at:
_chiesa-caldea-assira_en.html , and you can read the consecration-less Order of the Assyrian Liturgy here: )

R. Sungenis: I understand your concern. We have also registered our concern about the Adiaphora of Mari. But the fact is that this is Cardinal Ratzinger's and Cardinal Kasper's baby. They claim John Paul II's approval, but that has not been documented. But even if he did approve it, no OFFICIAL approval of the Adiaphora has been made by the pope in writing, nor has the pope made any official change in Catholic dogma regarding the consecration. Most of the aberrations we see today are passed through unofficially, yet give the pretense of being official.


Question 32- Are You Sure You're Right About Cremation?

Mr. Sungenis,

I appreciate your zeal regarding the Church's tradition, but you made a mistake in your remarks on Cremation. The Church has spoken on this question, and loosened up her traditional stance against cremation. She does permit it now, provided its not done for an incorrect motive. In the interests of getting the truth straight, I think you should correct your remarks on the website. Check out the following from the Code of Canon Law:

Canon 1176 §3 "The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to christian teaching."

The Catechsim of the Catholic Church teaches:

"The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body. (CCC 2301)

For an article going into the history of this develpment:


Breier Scheetz

R. Sungenis: Breirer, thank you for the clarification. However, I don't think it is as simple as quoting from Canon Law or the Catechism.

First, according the Catechism's footnote, it is merely reiterating what is in Canon Law 1176.3, so it is not making a separate statement. The crux of the issue, then, is what is meant and to be understood by Canon Law 1176.3.

Before we get to that, the laws in the 1917 code were as follows:

Canon 1203: "The bodies of the faithful must be buried, and cremation is reprobated. If anyone has in any manner ordered his body to be cremated, it shall be unlawful to execute his wish."

Canon 1240.5: "Persons who have given orders for the cremation of their bodies are deprived of ecclesiastical burial, unless they have before death given some signs of repentance."

Canon 2339: "Persons who, in violation of the prohibition of Canon 1240, dare to order or force the ecclesiastical burial (of those who are to be deprived of it) incur excommunication ipso facto; and persons who of their own accord give ecclesiastical burial to the above mentioned, incur an interdict from entering a church."

(It is true, however, that even the 1917 code allowed cremation for certain cases, e.g., disease, war).

When compared to the 1917 code, the problem is that the 1983 code in 1176.3 is cursory and ambigous. The statement "the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine," does not tell us what the legitimate reasons would be for someone to choose cremation. The fact is, there are no "Christian" reasons to choose cremation, since the art of cremation has purely pagan or seditious origins.

Moreover, cremation goes against the longstanding tradition of the Church, from the time of the Old Testament thourgh all of the Christian era. In light of that, the 1983 code of Canon Law puts limits around itself, as is highlighted in the following canons:

Canon 20: "A later law abrogates, or derogates, an earlier law if it states so expressly, is directly contrary to it, or completely reorders the entire matter of the earlier law."

None of these were done in the 1983 code, since no reference was made either to the previous condemnation of cremation in 1926, nor the 1917 code of Canon Law's prohibition against cremation, nor the tradition of the Church. The 1983 is certainly "not directly contrary to it," since it still prohibits cremation unless it is done for legitiamte reasons, but which reasons it does not specify (since there are none, except emergencies like war and disease).

Canon 21: "In case of doubt, the revocation of a pre-existing law is not presumed, but later laws must be related to the earlier ones and, insofar as possible, must be harmonized with them."

In other words, since the 1983 code is ambiguous and non-definitive, the 1917 prohibition of cremation is not to be presumed, rather, the 1983 code must be harmonized with it. So unless the 1983 code can give a list of legitimate reasons why cremation would be allowed, it cannot presume to be going against the 1917 code. Unless it was for an emergency (war, disease) cremation was always considered an anti-Christian act due to its intrinsic nature.

Canon 26 says: "Unless the competent legislator has specifically approved it, a custom contrary to the canon law now in force or one beyond a canonical law obtains the force of law only if it has been legitimately observed for thirty continuous and complete years. Only a centenary [100 years] or immemorial custom, however, can prevail against a canonical law which contains a clause prohibiting future customs."

Thus, a centenary or immemorial custum, such as not allowing cremation (which has been practiced for 2000 years), has attained the force of law by its uninterrupted practice in the Catholic Church. Even a canon law allowing cremation cannot prevail against the custom, especially one as cursory and ambiguous as the 1983 code. Mind you, these are the limitations that the 1983 code places on itself, not those we are placing on it.

This shouldn't surprise us. Cremation does not suddenly become a virtuous act with the passage of time. If for 4000 years it was understood as an anti-religious act, what now would make it an acceptable act?

Further, I don't know anyone who chooses cremation for religious reasons, but for precisely non-religious, non-Christian reasons. In fact, there is no Christian reason for cremation. What we do know is that cremation is practiced by Freemasons, which was precisely why the Church condemned it in 1917 and 1926. The same Freemasons are in the Church today, and it wouldn't suprise me if they had some hand in trying to weaken the Church's long-standing custom of prohibiting cremation by making the wording of Canon 1176 ambiguous. if that is the case, fortunately Canons 20, 21, 26 take care of that ambiguity.

Here is another important issue, and probably the main reason 1176.3 says what it does:

The code of 1176.3 is worded in a negative format ("the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine") instead of a positive format ("the Church prohibits cremation unless it was chosen for for the sake of Christian doctrine"). This wording is chosen because there is no Christian reason for cremation.

Thus, to harmonize 1176.3 with the 1917 code, we might say that 1176.3 is merely making room for those in ignorance of the notorious history and non-Christian meaning to cremation.

This approach is most likely due to the ecumenical atmosphere in which the 1983 code was written, for it may be trying to accommodate cultures and religions which practice cremation as a normal means of burial, whereas the 1917 code had no such intentions. For those in such situations, cremation is not a bad thing, but it is a bad thing, and perhaps even sinful, for Christians who are quite cognizant of the meaning and history of cremation.

So, this is not an open and shut case. In light of that, I would not answer someone's question by a mere citation of the 1983's code. In situations like this, in the face of long-standing traditions of the Church, the whole issue has to be studied, as well as the motives and intentions of the 1983 code, especially those it imposes on itself. Hence, unless there was some overwhelming reason for someone to cremate, then we would have to say it should not be done and it is against Scripture, Tradition and the spirit of Canonical Law.


Question 33- Who are the Seven Kings, Seven Mountains and the Beast of Apocalypse 17?

Mr. Sungenis,

Do you have anything more than a primer on the Apocalypse? Is it futurist, historicist or preterist? Anything that would help me on a refutation to Bellarmine? If so, I would like ordering info. I am posting the refutation below.

Thanks, and God bless,


A Refutation of Bellarmine's

Exposition of the Angel's Interpretation of the Vision, Rev. xvii. by Walter Garrett
(taken from A Discourse Concerning Antichrist, chapter 2, published 1680)

[Garrett has just spent 88 pages expounding the meaning of the 7 heads and ten horns of the scarlet coloured beast, showing the Heads to be a succession of several sorts of kings at Rome; i.e., kings, consuls, decemvirs, tribunes, dictators, heathen and Christian emperors, and Popes; and showing the Horns to be the Goths, Saxons, Burgundians, Vandals, Visigoths, Franks, &c...which divided the Roman Empire]

And now I cannot imagine what to add, or what can be desired further, in confirmation of this truth, than to show how unsuccessfully that great and learned Champion of the Church of Rome, Cardinal Bellarmine, has endeavored another manner of explication of this Vision, and Interpretation. This learned author then, to do the Popes a kindness, hath thus explained (or, if you please, obscured) the Angel's meaning.

"John," (says he) "in the xviith Chapter of the Revelation describeth a Beast with seven Heads, and ten Horns, upon which Beast a certain Woman sat: and he explains the Woman to be that great City which sitteth upon seven Hills, that is, Rome: the seven Heads to be those seven Mountains, and also seven Kings, by which Number are understood all the Roman Emperors.

"He saith, that the ten Horns are ten Kings which shall reign together at the same time. And lest we should think that these should be Roman Kings, he adds, that these Kings shall hate the Whore, and make her desolate, because they shall so divide the Roman Empire among themselves, that they shall utterly destroy it."

Thus far Bellarmine.

But never was an Exposition in the World so huddled up together, as this is. The Angel tells us that the seven Heads are seven Kings; five, says he, are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come, and when he cometh he must continue a short space. And the Beast which was, and is not, he is the eighth King, and is of the seven, and goeth into Perdition. Now by this number of seven Kings, are understood saith Bellarmine, all the Roman Emperors; and he accounts all those Roman Emperors, who have anyways enjoyed that Title from Julius Caesar's time to this present day; and God only knows how many such Emperors may come after. So that by his reckoning we cannot account all the Roman Emperors fewer in number than one hundred and thirty, I speak with compass. Now it is not very strange that seven Kings, should be put to signify one hundred and thirty? For let us grant that seven, a certain number, may be put for an uncertain: yet who ever heard that so small a number as seven, hath been put for so great a one, as hath been the number of all the Roman Emperors? This therefore is one great Absurdity, but not comparable to those which follow.

For if by these seven Kings are meant all the Roman Emperors, then why does not the Cardinal proceed to show us, which be those five that were fallen; which is the one that was; which the other that was not then come, who when he was come, should continue but a short space, and which is the Beast that was, and is not, who is said to be the eighth King, and yet to be of the seven? All which particulars of the Angel's Interpretation the Cardinal has thought fit to so smother in profound silence, lest the vanity and absurdity of his Exposition should be too apparent and contemptible.

For he acknowledgeth more than once, that the Revelation was given in Domitian's Reign. Whereupon it will follow, that if by the seven Kings are meant all the Roman Emperors, then by the five Kings that were fallen, must be meant those eleven Emperors that had reigned before Domitian; by the one, that then was, must be meant Domitian himself; by the other, Nerva, successor to Domitian; and by the last King, who is the Beast that was, and is not, must be meant all the Roman Emperors, to the number at least of one hundred and seventeen. And is not this an admirable Exposition, which in the same breath, as it were, makes seven to signify one hundred and thirty, and yet five of those seven to signify but eleven; one to signify but one; an yet in the very next clause one to signify one hundred and seventeen? If this be to interpret Prophecies, I wonder it should ever be thought difficult to interpret them. And if any man can make sense of this Exposition, let him enjoy it for his pains. Certainly it was for mere shame that Bellarmine went no further in his application of these seven Kings; and if we had not minded more the truth then good manners, we had not thus exposed it to the World.

But I believe the Cardinal has committed a greater error yet against his own Principles than possibly he might be aware of. For if the seven Kings typified by the seven Heads of the Beast, be set to signify all the Roman Emperors, and if the present Emperors be of that number, (as he himself would have them) then are the present Roman Emperors typified by some one or other Heads. But of the Beast here mentioned, having seven Heads, and ten horns, it is said that he was full of names of Blasphemy. And therefore the present Roman Emperors, if they be any of those seven Kings, which are typified by the seven Heads, they also have this name of Blasphemy in common with the rest.

Neither will it here suffice to say, that it is only noted, that the Beast had upon his Heads a name of Blasphemy, but not that he had the same upon all his Heads; So that it will be true, if any of the Roman Emperors had it. This answer will not serve. For the Christian Emperors have reigned near five times as long again, as the Heathen Emperors had done. And therefore there is no likelihood at all that the Spirit should say of the Heads in general, that they had the name of Blasphemy, without distinguishing of them, if either he had understood by the seven Heads, the whole Order of the Roman Emperors (as Bellarmine reckons them,) or if the present Emperors be not, and have not been guilty of this Blasphemy in common with the Heathen Emperors.

As for what the Cardinal adds concerning the ten Horns, or ten Kings, which saith he, shall reign together at the same time, the Angel tells us more precisely that they should reign together with the Beast, or seventh and last Head. But Bellarmine having not thought fit to tell us which of the Roman Emperors are this Beast, or seventh and last Head: he does not say as the Angel does, that the ten Horns should reign together with the Beast, but only that they should reign together at one time. And thus again he has very pitifully shuffled in the most material point of this Prophecy. And this he has done, lest because he has expounded the seven Kings to be all the Roman Emperors, we should suspect the present Roman Emperors to be that Antichristian Beast, whom the Angel calls the eighth and last of those Kings; for if six of them were come in St. John's time, and the other should continue but a little while; the eighth and last, who is the Antichristian Beast, must needs be come by this, or he is never to be looked for. Since therefore by the seven Kings are meant all the Roman Emperors, and Domitian must be the sixth; Nerva must be the other, who was to continue but a short time; and all the Emperors succeeding Nerva, and by consequence the new Roman Emperors, the Popes Creatures and Disciples, must be the Antichristian Beast, or the eighth and last of those Kings.

As for what he adds, concerning the ten Horns, that they should not be Roman Kings, because they should hate the Whore, (i.e. the City of Rome) and make her desolate: it is as unintelligible as the rest. For, does he mean that they shall not be Kings in Rome? Who ever said it? Or does he mean, that they should not profess each one his portion of the Roman Empire? Himself confesseth it. Or lastly does he mean, that none of them should be, or should be called a Roman King? How does he prove it? He says, they shall not be Roman Kings, because they shall hate the Whore, (i.e. the City of Rome) and make her desolate. But this they may do, though any one, or all of them should be, or (as Bellarmine himself expresses it) should be called Roman Kings, when once they come to be enlightened, and to perceive how the adulterous City hath poisoned, and infected, and besotted them with her abominable Cup of Spiritual Fornication.

As for what he further adds concerning these ten Kings, proving that they should not be Roman Kings, because they shall so divide the Roman Empire among them, as utterly to destroy it: which he gathers from what is said of them in Rev 17:16, These shall hate the Whore, and make her desolate: it is to be observed, that these ten Kings were not to bring this desolation upon that whorish City, till after they had given their power unto the Beast, (who was to be the last Head or King in that City) and had made war with the Lamb, & the Lamb had overcome them. For till this, 'tis said, that God should put into their minds to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their Kingdom to the Antichristian Beast; until by their warring with the Lamb, and being overcome by him, the words of God should be fulfilled, ver. 17. For so it had been foretold of them, at v. 13, that they should have one mind, and should give their power and strength unto the Beast; that they should make War with the Lamb, and that the Lamb should overcome them. And being thus worsted by the Lamb, when they should come to see their Error, they should hate the Whorish City, the Metropolis of the Beast, that had seduced them, and in revenge of her impiety, should make her desolate, and naked, and should eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. These ten Kings therefore might be Roman Kings for all their laying of that City desolate: because they should not do it, till after they had spied their Error in confederating with her.

But lastly, if these ten Kings shall so divide the Roman Empire among them as utterly to destroy it; how can it then be said, that they should give their Power and Strength, and Kingdom to the Roman Emperors? For if by the seven Heads or Kings be meant (as Bellarmine tells us) all the Roman Emperors; then must the seventh of those Kings be some, or one at least, of the Roman Emperors. But it is manifest from ver. 11, that the seventh of those Heads or Kings, is the Beast that was, and is not; to whom, it is said in the next verse but one, that the ten Kings should give their Power and Strength, (nay, and their Kingdom also, as is said a little after). If then these ten Kings shall give their Power, and Strength, and Kingdom, to the Roman Emperors; how shall they so divide the Roman Empire among themselves, as utterly to destroy it? [A theory as ridiculous as that postulated by the Jesuits concerning the falling away in 2 Thes 2, in which they correctly identify the Roman Empire as the "let," BUT THEN SAY THE FALLING AWAY IS ALSO FROM THE ROMAN EMPIRE; so that the Roman Empire must be taken out of the way, before the falling away from the Roman Empire can occur!]

And thus much of the Cardinal's Exposition, which indeed is utterly unbecoming the Judgment of so great a Disputant: but we must pardon this, and many other such-like failings, to the weakness of his Cause. For certainly it cannot be ascribed to any other thing, that Bellarmine, a Man so learned, so ripe of Judgment, quick of Wit, and skillful in the Art that he professed, should be so utterly puzzled and confounded in this Argument above all others (though in others also not a little) even to the grossest and most palpable effects of Dotage and Stupidity.

R. Sungenis: As for the Apocalypse, in particular chapter 17, I have learned to take with a grain of salt any interpretation that tries to assign particular nations or time periods to the kings. In fact, I avoid them altogether. The visions of John are symbolic. That is the primary premise in the interpretation of the Apocalypse. Any interpretation that tries to assign literal periods of time to it are going to box themselves in, and they will end up distorting more than they uncover.
The basic outlay of the Apocalypse is set between the first and second comings of Christ. There are seven sections of the Apocalypse which all have the first coming as the beginning point and the second coming as the ending point. They are:

Ch 1-3
Ch 4-6
Ch 7-9
Ch 10-11
Ch 12-14
Ch 15-19
Ch 20-22

Basically, each section tells the same story, but from a different angle. The section with the kings that you are interested in is Ch 15-19, and it is one of the most detailed.

As we see in the previous section (12-14) the numbers seven and ten are symbolic. Without getting into too much detail, they represent anti-Christian power, in toto. Apoc 17:8 refers to the defeat of Satan at the Cross, but the transfering of his power to the "beast" who now does Satan's bidding while Satan is bound (Apoc 20:1-3). Thus, it is as if his "deadly wound was healed" (Apoc 13:3) and thus "he is about to come up out of the abyss" (Apoc 17:8). This is why the "whole world wonders," since it as if Satan has been resurrected.

In Apoc 17:9 the 7 heads are on 7 mountains and they are 7 kings. The "7" represents the thoughts, plans, designs, schemes of the anti-Christian power. The "10" horns could represent the seepage of these schemes into every area of life: religion, philosophy, culture, music, literature, politics, money, family, etc, etc. It is a total dominion because Satan is the "god of this world." (2 Cor 4:4)

Apoc 17:10 refers to "five kings that have fallen," which would represent all the Satanic dominion before the first coming of Christ, which was Satan's most powerful time. Since the time before Christ was much longer than the time we are in now, we can understand why the pre-Christ times are given a larger number (5). The "one is" refers to the working of Satan's power, through the beast, in John's time (cf., 1 Jn 5:8; Rom 16:20). The "other that has not yet come" refers to the loosening of Satan from his binding to deceive the whole world just prior to Christ's second coming (cf., Apoc 20:7-8).

Apoc 17:11 speaks of the same beast in 17:8 that "goes to destruction." He is "of the seven" but (in the Greek) "makes himself an eighth," that is, he tries to continue the power of the seven, but in the end, he too will "go to destruction."

Apoc 17:12 speaks of the "ten horns" that will rule with the beast (the "eighth") for "one hour." This again refers to the loosening of Satan for a "little season" (2 Thess 2:3-9; Apoc 20:7-8) who will then dominate the whole world and give these "ten horns" their kingdoms. This "ten" means they will permeate every area of society, especially religion.

Apoc 17:14 then speaks of Christ coming in judgment, which is the second coming, and corresponds to Apoc 20:9.

I hope that helps a little.


Question 34- What about Garabandal?

Hello Mr. Sungenis,

In question 15 of August 2004, you told a woman, "follow ONLY apparitions that have been approved by the Church. Simply throw everything else in the trashcan. This is especially true since the bishop of Medjugore has refused to legitimize the apparitions there."

I understand this with Medjugore, but what about Garabandal? It is also not approved. Their bishop also refuses to believe that anything supernatural took place there which is ludicrous. If it wasn't from God then it most certainly came from hell.

However, St. Padre Pio definetely believed it was authentic as did the late Fr. Malachi Martin whom you told the same lady, "his analysis is spot on."

A great Chastisment was pronounced there as a punishment "IF" the world doesn't change after the warning and miracle. This is not a misinterpretation or distortion of the visionaries.

Karl Keating of Catholic Answers condemns it, the Garabandal bishop condemns it, and yet it is still under investigation from the Holy See which has not yet condemned it.

Would you also suggest to throw this in the trashcan and condemn it or rather keep it as a possibility as coming from Heaven?

You might try for all the information on it. This is the official website of Joey Lomagino (who was personally told by St Padre Pio that Our Lady was appearing there and is friends with the visionary Conchita) and The Workers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Thank you!

R. Sungenis: Steve, I understand your concern. Let me put this in perspective. If the Vatican is still keeping the file open on Garabandal, then we also have to keep the file open, especially since, as you pointed out, Padre Pio supported it, which is precisely one witness the Church would look to in order to authenticate it. That doesn't mean, however, that we should be basing predictions on Garabandal. We can't, until it is approved. This won't hurt us at all, since the message of Garabandal is two short paragraphs that basically say the same thing as many other Marian apparitions. My inkling is that it is a legitimate Marian apparition, but my feelings do not change the general rule that we should only heed approved apparitions.


Question 35- When is Papal Infallibility Applicable?

Dear Robert Sungenis

What is the meaning and nature of papal infallibility in papal encyclicals
outside of Ex Cathedra teaching (such as the Dogmas of the Assumption and
the Immaculate Conception) which we know must be believed. A friend of mine
challenged me that all that the pope teaches in faith and morals in
encyclicals is infallible. So here is the actual question, what is the
extent of infallibility in encyclicals, for example when Pope Leo XIII
teaches in his encyclical on marriage that Adam was created out of the slime
of the ground and Eve was created from his side (which is obviously the way
that it happened!), how could Humani Generis provide for the possibility of
the evolution of Adam's body? To me these two encyclicals are
contradictory, but if I am correct that should not be a problem because they
do not have an extraordinary note of infallibility, but how does this apply
to are requirement for practical obedience to papal encyclicals ( e.g.
evolutionists would pick and choose Humani Generis, us creationists would
choose Leo XIII's encyclical?)

IN Christ,
George Ayer

R. Sungenis: George, your "friend" is a little confused. Encyclicals, as an entity in themselves, and by their own nature, are not infallible. With regards to papal statements, the general rule according to Canon Law is "No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident." The operative word in that canon is "manifestly" (Canon 749.3).

Infallibility is a very limited prerogative of the pope. It must meet the four criteria laid down at Vatican I, otherwise it is not infallible. On their own, encyclicals do not fulfill those four criteria.

The only time an encyclical could contain an infallible statement is when it is repeating a statement that has already been made infallible by the present or a previous pope. Since an encyclical contains a voluminous amount of statements, then if one or more of them is infallible, the pope must "proclaim by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held" (Canon 749.1). In other words, we do not assume a statement or statements are infallible unless the pope tells us they are infallible. We assume that it is not infallible unless we are told otherwise. If the pope wants to make the whole encyclical infallible, he can do so, but he must tell us so, otherwise we assume the whole encyclical is not infallible.

The closest we had to that occurrence in recent times is the pope's declaration in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994) that women could not be priests. This created some controversy, and when asked whether it was "infallible," Cardinal Ratzinger affirmed that it was. (Granted, this affirmation did not come from the pope, but my point here is the necessity of the protocol in such grave matters).

Encyclicals, however, are authoritative, and do demand, at the least, our assent to their general teaching (even if there are certain things said in an encyclical that could be in error, taken by themselves). In perspective, encyclicals are channels, or stop gaps, of the Church that pave the way for more definitive statements in the future, statements that may be made infallible by a future pope.


Question 36- I Disagree with your QA on Baptism of Desire

In question 14 from August, you agree with the following message (from Patrick), noting that unless a person can make a distinction between the terms justification and salvation, that it is clear the Council of Trent teaches that Baptism of Desire suffices for salvation. The message was as follows:

"Dear Mr. Sungenis:

In question 34 of the July Q&As, your correspondent Michael espouses the heretical theory that men cannot be saved by the desire for baptism. This teaching is contrary to Vatican II, Trent, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, and the 1949 Letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing concerning the doctrine of Fr. Feeney. Indeed, St. Alphonsus Liguori states:

Now it is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, "de presbytero non baptizato" and of the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one can be saved "without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it". (Theologia Moralis, Bk. 6, nn. 95-7.)

The teaching concerning invincible ignorance (which, while not de fide, is the common and safe teaching of theologians) was espoused by approved pre-conciliar theologians such as Charles Cardinal Journet, who writes in his 1951 "Church of the Word Incarnate":

"No salvation outside the Church" is true of those who do not belong to the Church, which in herself is visible, either visibly (corporaliter) or even invisibly, either by the sacraments (sacramentaliter) or even in spirit (mentaliter); either fully (re) or even by desire (voto); either in accomplished act or even in virtual act.[86] The axiom does not concern the just who, without yet belonging to the Church visibly, in accomplished act (re), do so invisibly, in virtual act, in spirit, by desire (mentaliter, voto), that is to say in virtue of the supernatural righteousness of their lives, even while, through insurmountable ignorance, they know nothing of the sanctity, or even of the existence, of the Church.[87]

The footnotes cite such luminaries as St. Thomas, St. Robert Bellarmine, and Suarez, as well as other theologians."

I must say that I disagree with the conclusion that this one phrase in the Council of Trent qualifies as a de fide statement in support of baptism of desire. We must recall that the only two documents available at the Council of Trent when it was written were the Summa Theologica and the Sacred Scriptures. Knowing this, it can be considered that this phrase was added in light of some of the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa ("...the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of 'faith that worketh by charity,' whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly." [III, 68, ii]).

Here St. Thomas states that God CAN save a person who merely desires Baptism but does not receive the Sacrament. Of course, no one would argue whether or not God has the power to do so. God, being omnipotent, can do all things. St. Thomas notes that God Himself is not bound by the Sacraments. He COULD save all men, condemning no one to Hell; nevertheless, He does not do so. Rather, He carries out what He promised to us, just as He does with His commandment on Baptism: "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (St. John III. 5).

If we look closer at the Council of Trent and what the Sacred Council actually decreed on Baptism, we come upon the Canons on Baptism. CANON II on Baptism states, "If any one saith, that true and natural water is not of necessity for baptism, and, on that account, wrests, to some sort of metaphor, those words of our Lord Jesus Christ; Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost; let him be anathema."

Reading these canons as a whole will give us further information on the subject. Canon V on Baptism states, "If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema."

If we read Canon V in light of Canon II, it is very clear that Baptism is an absolute necessity and prerequisite to eternal salvation. The term Baptism cannot have different meanings in these two canons, unless distinguished specifically in some way, which they are not. One who professes belief in multiple Baptisms, e.g., baptism of desire, can understand the term Baptism in a specific sense referring only to the Sacrament but not to other forms of baptism. Then, however, reading Canon V, one cannot prescribe a different meaning to the term Baptism than was used in Canon II. If the term baptism in Canon V refers to the Sacrament, which it must, then the Sacrament of Baptism under the form of true and natural water only can merit the efficacy of Baptism. The inverse is also true. If one holds that Canon V speaks of Baptism as a general concept, not as the Sacrament only, thus concluding that Baptism can be conferred by other means than the Sacrament alone, he need only reference Canon II in order to realize that water is the only means by which Baptism can be conferred. Wherefore, his previous conclusion was false.

This can be shortly stated by syllogism. Canon II states that water is necessary for baptism, and Canon V states that baptism is necessary for salvation; it is the only logical conclusion that water is necessary for salvation. Of what else could Canon II of the Sacred Council be speaking, other than some new "baptism" that is clearly a wresting of the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: "Unless a man be born of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (St. John III. 5)? What else is could baptism of desire be than a wresting of Our Lord's words? What else could this phrase indicate? God bless.


R. Sungenis: Matthew, I really do admirer your desire for the truth, but in this case, unlike the working of the desire for baptism which suffices for baptism, your "desire" does not suffice for the truth.

First, you start out by trying to minimize the Council of Trent's phrase. You write: "I must say that I disagree with the conclusion that this one phrase in the Council of Trent qualifies as a de fide statement in support of baptism of desire."

The fact is, that "desire for baptism" IS A DE FIDE statement about how justification can be procured, for the Council of Trent is an infallible council. I don't know how much more "de fide" you expect to find, but it doesn't get any higher than a council confirmed for its infallibility by the reigning pope.

The syntax of the paragraph reinforces the solemn intent of Trent, since "desire of baptism" is put right in the middle of the sentence, and as an integral part of the conditional clause, showing its direct connection to the main clause. It is not set off somewhere by itself, or put in a mere footnote, or given a "oh, by the way" kind of treatment. This syntax is about as clear as clear can be.

"...and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be erected except through the laver of regeneration, or a desire for it, as it is written: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Second, the phrase "or a desire for it" is not some incidental wording that the Fathers of Trent just sort of stuck in there at the last minute. It appears again with regard to the Sacrament of Confession, and is actually used twice in the same paragraph.

Chapter 14: Hence it must be taught that the repentance of a Christian after his fall is very different from that at his baptism, and that it includes not only a cessation from sins, and a detestation of them, or ‘a contrite and humble heart' [Psalm 50:19], but also the sacramental confession of the same, at least in desire and to be made in its season, and sacerdotal absolution, as well as satisfaction by fasting, almsgiving, prayers, and other devout exercises of the spiritual life, not indeed for the eternal punishment, which is remitted together with the guilt either by the sacrament or the desire of the sacrament, but for the temporal punishment

It is used again in the Canons Regarding the General Rules of Sacraments:

Canon 4: If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification: let him be anathema.

Obviously, then, its frequency in the documents means that the "desire" for a sacrament is an integral part of the theology of the sacraments, as well as a foundational belief of the Fathers of Trent. Their application of it to Baptism is neither incidental or accidental. They meant what they said.

Otherwise, why, if Trent is desperately trying to clarify the doctrinal upheaval caused by Luther and the Reformers, would she then confuse us all the more with a phrase that she didn't intend to have possess the force of its own plain words?

The problem you are having stems from your faulty analysis of Canon 2 and Canon 5. If you look at these two canons in the wrong way, then you are going to look at Chapter 4 wrongly.

It seems quite clear to me that you have begun with your own manufactured premise that the application of water in Baptism is "absolutely" necessary in every case, and then you read this premise into the Canons as if they were as absolute as you are.

If you read the Canons carefully, and for what they actually say rather than what you want to read into them, they don't support your absolutistic premise.

Canon 2 says: "If any one saith, that true and natural water is not of necessity for baptism, and, on that account, wrests, to some sort of metaphor, those words of our Lord Jesus Christ; Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost; let him be anathema."

This canon, by its own admission, is not addressing the desire for baptism, and has no reason or desire to address it at this particular juncture in its declarations. Canon 2 simply wants to make a declarative statement, without imposing any limits on itself to make exceptions elsewhere in its writings, that if someone says water is not necessary and that John 3:5 is just a metaphor, he is anathematized. That's all.

In fact, the syntax of the canon tells us precisely what it was trying to accomplish, since it defines its intention of enforcing the necessity for water by contrasting it to those who say water is just a metaphor. Hence, the contest is between water as real or water as metaphor; not between water as real and desire for baptism as not real. In short, the context of the canon determines its meaning (and the context is between literalness and metaphors), and all extraneous ideas must be eliminated before a proper interpretation can be made.

There were thousands of people who, in the Reformation period, were saying that water was just a mere symbol, and it was these to whom the Canon was directed. It wasn't directed to Catholics, for they already knew that the water was not symbolic, but actually procured salvation.

If Canon 2 was saying what you claim it is, then Trent would be contradicting itself, because it already said in Chapter 4 and elsewhere that "desire" sufficed for the sacrament.

If you don't see it this way, then you end up doing what you did above, that is, "disagreeing that this one phrase in the Council of Trent qualifies as a de fide statement in support of baptism of desire."

Would you be happier if Trent said it ten times, a hundred times? It makes no difference, really. The point is that Trent SAID IT, and it only has to say it once for it to be true and applicable in every situation it can be applied.

Trying to minimize or dismiss Trent's wording only ends up forcing you into other erroneous ideas (e.g., that justification and salvation are distinct and separate acts, which is nowhere taught in Tradition or Scripture, and Fr. Feeney was absolutely wrong on this).

Or you end up trying to say that the word "or" means "and," or some other meaning that is not "or." Trent put "or" in the phrase for a reason, and that reason is that "desire of baptism" procures justification just as water baptism does.

Canon 5 is not going to help you either. It reads, "If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema."

Again, the only point of the Canon is to curtail those who say Baptism is not necessary, and there were thousands of Protestants holding to such a position.

But a Catholic who believes in "desire for baptism" is not saying that baptism is not necessary, he is saying JUST THE OPPOSITE. He is saying that Baptism is SO necessary that if one cannot obtain it by the normal means (water) then he must at least have it by desire, for without either of them a person cannot get to heaven.


Question 37- Head Covering 24/7.

Brother Robert,

Thanks so much!

I have been reading over your headcovering work, with great enthusiasm. One thing I am having difficulty with though is, if the Light of Nature teaches that women are to be veiled, why not full time? I believe there are some lay Traditionalist Catholic women who do cover veil full-time.

God bless,

R. Sungenis: The stipulation in 1 Cor 11 is that whenever a woman prays or prophesies, she is to wear a head covering, which would be true in or out of the Church. If she wants to wear one continually, as we see the Blessed Mother, that is her option.


Question 38- Is Robert Sungenis Being a Blind Guide?

Robert's arguement about obedience is shallow and even comical for one who seems so well informed . I see this from a point of which goes back to as many years before the Council as after. I wish I could be more concilliatory toward Robert but the gravity of our present situation admonishes Roert to face the real problem , regarless of its validity the N O M is what has been described as the water torture treatment of the Catholic Faith .... Will the blind please stop leading lest we all fall into the pit ..Thats where the father of lies is guiding so many today. Thanks for listening

St Athanasious pray for all of us

John Karwandy

R. Sungenis: The only thing "shallow" here is that you think it is shallow to be obedient to the supreme disciplinary edicts of the pope. If so, you don't have the Catholic religion. You have one of your own making, and I can assure you it is not Catholic. Catholicism starts with authority. Anything else is just Protestantism in disguise. You can react all you want about against the present regime, as I do myself, but you simply cross the proverbial line once you become your own magisterium. There is one question, and one question only, here. Were Paul VI and John Paul II true and valid popes? If the answer you give is yes, then you owe them your allegiance in the places where canonical law requires it.


Question 39- What Scripture Passage Disallows Tatoos?

My son would like to know - where in the bible does it say you are not supposed to tattoo yourself?

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

Thank you.

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


Question 40- Does the name "Simon" really mean "grain of sand" in Aramaic?
Mr. Robert Sungenis,

First a quick word of praise. I greatly admire your apologetical skill, and I can only hope to attain similar heights of prowess some day. That said, I have noticed that within your defense of the authority of Peter, you have claimed that the name "Simon" in Aramaic means "grain of sand" (as published in the November/December '94 issue of The Catholic Answer, and found online here). I have been doing some research and have been unable to substantiate this claim. I questioned two individuals familiar with the Aramaic language, and this is what they have to say:
'Simon" is a Greek rendering of Shim'on which means "listening, hearkening, obedient." It is the same root as in SHEMA (hear) and SHEM (name). What is the relationship with "name?" Creation by God was by the SOUND of his voice when he CALLED, i.e. the darkness night, etc. In ancient Israel, a child did not become a person until the father held it and CALLED the child's name. SHM has to do with calling and hearing. Even the entire cosmos (heavens) were created by the SOUND of God's voice, hence SHEMaya. There was a Greek name Simon which was unrelated to the Semitic SHIM'ON but became handy as a Greek rendering of the Semitic name.

Shim'on (Simon) hearkens and is obedient.

Jack Kilmon
also this, from another individual familiar with Aramaic:
May I suggest consulting the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon, online at the following URL:

You are not specific about the Aramaic dialect involved or the spelling of "Simon," or its triliteral root. I tried "$MWN" and "SMWN" and "$MN" and "SMN," plus asking for the Aramaic to English "Simon." None of these searches yielded anything resembling "grain of sand."

Sigrid Peterson
University of Pennsylvania / St. Joseph's University
All of this would seem to suggest that there is no merit in the claim. However, since I am unfamiliar with foreign languages, I ask for your expertise on this matter. Does the name "Simon" really mean "grain of sand" in Aramaic?

I anxiously await your response.

Pax Christi,

R. Sungenis: Nick, I have not been able to substantiate it either, and thus whenever this question comes up since that 1994 article, I tell them I have withdrawn my assertion. I obtained the supposed information that Simon meant "grain of sand" from a third party source, but I don't remember the source, nor did I take the time to double check it before I wrote the Our Sunday Visitor article, which was my mistake. What I would like you to check out for me from the sources above, however, is what word in Aramaic means "grain of sand." If you can do so, send me an email about it. God be with you.


Question 41- "We're all against torture"--but Innocent IV wasn't.

Dear Robert,

I'm sorry this is so involved, please have patience with me. So, you say, "We're all against torture". But that's my point, Innocent IV in "Ad Extirpande" in fact authorized the use of torture by the inquisition, and was followed in this practice by several other Medieval pontiffs.

Yet we know that CCC condemns torture, as do Nicholas I, Pius XII and Vatican II.

Admittedly Innocent's bull wasn't an "ex cathedra" statement, but I am not sure exactly how much weight a papal bull carried. Because several popes renewed this bull, does that make it a "common teaching" of the Church? Or was it just a blunder on his part, a non-infallible excess in enthusiasm for fighting heresy?

In other words, might we say that Innocent IV was simply mistaken to authorize the use of torture against heretics?

Basically I guess I'm asking what level of authority a bull like "Ad Extirpande" is.

By the way, I have never heard that Paul or the Church in Corinth handed over the incestuous man to civil punishment!

Again, many, many thanks for your time.

Michael Edwards-Ronning+

R. Sungenis: Michael, allow me to clarify. When I said "we are all against torture," I was referring to the inordinate and unauthorized use of torture. Conversely, if Innocent IV deemed it necessary at the time of his reign, he certainly had the right to authorize torture if he had evidence that the Church was threatened by heresy. Thomas Aquinas sanctioned the same practice, as did many other popes and cardinals. Since this was in the time of the Holy Roman Empire, there was a mixture of state and church under one domain (i.e., the Social Kingship of Christ), just as in Israel when they had a Theocracy. In such cases, the Theocracy, under direct command of God, was to stone heretics and those who committed capital crimes. There was no difference between theology and morality as there is in our day.

Unfortunately in our day, Protestantism has caused a rupture in the Social Kingship of Christ which the Church possessed in in the Middle Ages. Protestantism, because it has no one supreme leader, relinquished supreme authority over to the state, and now the state makes it own rules, often not listening to the Church, especially in the theology and the practice of religion. Hence, one of the changes enforced by the state was that the Church had no right to punish or execute its own heretics, which was the case in the time of St. Paul when the Church was quite young. By the time of Constantine, the civil Roman Empire was being replaced by the Holy Roman Empire, and thus the Church would be the supreme authority, civilly and theologically, and by this introduced to the world the Social Kingship of Christ. Within that realm, she had the right to decide the civil punishments for capital crimes, including heresy. In fact, if the Church had been as diligent in the time of Luther as she was in the thirteenth century, we might not have had a Protestant reformation, nor the thousands of Protestant splinter groups that were created and continue to be created. Since the Protestant reformation, the Catholic Church has been considerably weakened, and slowly but surely, the Social Kingship of Christ was being eroded, until today it is just a glimmer of what it was in the past. As a result we have the world involved in the worst sins it has ever committed in the face of God (e.g., abortion, euthanasia, artificial insemination, homosexual marriage, divorce, etc), since the Church no longer has the civil authority to enforce the laws of God. The beast "whose deadly wound was healed" has waged a great war against the Church. But the whole purpose of Christ's coming was to establish his kingdom, and the popes are his vicars who are supposed to "lead the nations with a rod of iron." This can still happen. If not, then we pray for Christ's quick return.


Question 42- Justification & Salvation

In this months mail bag you state the following:

R. Sungenis: Thank you, Patrick, for sharing these things. I agree, and
it is clear, that the Council of Trent teaches that justification can
come from the desire of baptism. Those who teach otherwise end up with
having to make a distinction between justification and salvation, which
is nowhere taught in Scripture or the Church.

Clearly the Council of Trent taught that Justification can be achieved
via "desire" or vow for baptism.

My question to you is concerning justification. You state in essence
that no distinction between justification and salvation is taught in
either Scripture or the Church.

How can this be? Justification and Salvation are different are they
not? Justification means being in a state of grace. Salvation means
being in heaven.

For example. A recently baptized baby is justified. However if the
baby grows up commits mortal sin and dies unrepentant he will not
achieve salvation.

Justification is salvation in potentiality.
Salvation is salvation in fact.

Do I understand these topics incorrectly?



R. Sungenis: Jeff, your reasoning may sound logical to you, but it is not the reasoning that Scripture or Tradition uses on this issue. Catholic theology does not base the relationship between justification and salvation on contingencies (e.g., a baptized person committing a mortal sin). When a person is justified, he has been translated into the kingdom of Jesus Christ and he is no longer a child of the devil. At that time he is also "saved." When a person commits mortal sin, he is no longer justified, and thus he no longer possesses salvation. In other words, salvation is not understood in theology as something that cannot be taken away, while justification can be taken away. Baptism and Confession restore justification and salvation; while mortal sin takes away justification and salvation (cf., Rom 8:24; 10:10; 1 Cor 15:2; 2 Cor 2:15; 2 Tim 1:9; Titus 3:5; Rom 2:13; Matt 12:37).


Question 43- Sister Lucy

Dear Robert,

In one of your articles on Fatima, you come to the conclusion that Sr. Lucy may have "changed her mind" about the consecration of Russia because she has become a liberal, ecumenical-minded post VCII Catholic. If your analysis is correct, does this mean that if she died tomorrow she would go to Hell for the sin of heresy? I ask this because during the first apparition, Our Lady promised Lucy that she would go to heaven.

God bless,

R. Sungenis: Andrew, I'm not here to judge who will be saved and not saved. That is God's business. I am only here to report that facts about Fatima so that you can keep your own soul out of jeopardy. If Sr. Lucia can be deceived, then there is no telling who else will fall.


Question 44- CASB Bible


I ordered the Gospel of St. Matthew awhile ago. It is a very intense
study but well worth it. Bravo to you and your team. Our Lord must
surely be proud of you. Keep up the good work. A friend of mine from
church is borrowing the book now. He wants to be an Apologist. Hopefully
this will inspire him.

Mike Smigielski

R. Sungenis: Mike, thank you for the commendation. I do, indeed, hope the Lord is pleased with the CASB. Please pray for the next 12 volumes to be completed in a timely manner. God be with you.


Question 45- I Disagree with your QA on Baptism of Desire, Part II

Dr. Sungenis,

Certainly the conclusion you draw from: "Canon 4: If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification: let him be anathema," (that a desire for the Sacrament suffices for the Sacrament in necessity) is not true of ALL Sacraments. For example, the desire to go to Confession does not forgive your sins, even in necessity. Only with perfect contrition is one forgiven outside of the Sacrament (which includes desire for Confession but also must fulfill other criteria). This Canon does not prove baptism of desire.

R. Sungenis: I didn't say it did. All I said was the the concept of "desire" was not something that just appeared in Chapter 4, but is a foundational belief concerning the sacraments. Moreover, regardless whether a perfect contrition is needed, the fact remains that the "desire" for Confession suffices for the Confessional. If you want to say, analogously, that a person who "desires" Baptism is required to make a "vow" or some personal committement to receive water Baptism, I don't have a problem with that. Also, please understand that I am not using these arguments to give an excuse for someone, or to tie it to invincible ignorance. I think the desire for baptism is limited to those who know what baptism is and does, and because of that knowledge, have made a personal commitment to receive it. If they happen to die before they receive it, Trent assures us that the person will receive the effects of water Baptism.


Question 46- Why Isn't There a Continual Breeze?

Hi Bob, you don't know me. My name is Donald, I'm 43, and I converted to the RC faith in 1999. Anyway, this Geocentrism issue fascinates me, and not be a scientist myself, I have a question for you that may sound very, very dumb.

The earth is supposed to be spinning on it's axis, right?

Well, even allowing for gravitational pull and air pressure, the air is STILL lighter than the planet it surrounds, so how come there isn't a constant, WORLDWIDE breeze blowing at all times?

Please give me an answer to this, as I am QUITE serious... Thanks & God bless,
Donald Ramsey / North Miami Beach, Florida

R. Sungenis: Actually, there is a breeze blowing all the time. It follows certain pathways (e.g., jet stream, convection currents, etc). The funny thing about those pathways, however, is that if the earth were rotating those pathways should be going in different directions than they actually are. We can explain the wind currents much better from an earth that is stationary. I will be writing about this in my book, Galileo Was Wrong, to be published in 2005.


Question 47- Question on Vatican II

Bob, hi, Donald yet again. One more question. It's really bothering me.
I don't remember which document of Vatican II it is in, but it's there. I'm at work and don't have my copy of the Documents of Vatican II here with me in the office. Nevertheless, in Vatican II's documents, there is a statement that, BY VIRTUE OF THE INCARNATION Christ has united himself with each and every man.
John Paul, in Redemptor Hominis and other encyclicals, has amplified this statement to the point where he appears to be teaching universal salvation by virtue of the incarnation of Jesus alone. My question is, irrespective of JPII's encyclicals, isn't the Vatican II statement itself heretical? How is that, BY THE SOLE FACT OF THE INCARNATION, Christ has united himself with ALL men?
I thought we only became united to Christ through Baptism?
Can you help clarify this?
Donald Ramsey
North Miami Beach, Florida

R. Sungenis: Donald, technically it is not heretical, and can actually be understood as a truism, if it is done so in the right context. Christ, indeed, has united himself with all men in the Incarnation, for by it he has given them each the grace to repent of their sins and be redeemed. Christ does not give his grace incidentally or accidentally. Each man has that grace because Christ voluntarily decided to make himself part of us, despite the fact that we were estranged from Him.

The problem, however, arises when statements like the one above are then reinterpreted by modernists and liberals to say that Christ has saved or redeemed every man. That is indeed a heresy. Vatican II is not as big a problem as the interpretation from the liberals coming from Vatican II. By their own admission, they planted ambiguities in Vatican II's documents which, technically speaking, are not in error, so that after the council they could interpret these ambiguities to their own liberal, and often heretical, leanings. Our safeguard is that Vatican II's documents must be interpreted in light of the tradition of the Church. As such, the Tradition has never taught that every man has been saved or redeemed by Christ, but that Christ has provided the possibility for every man to be redeemed.


Question 48- Donating to CAI by MAIL

Hi Bob, Donald again (sorry! fifth time today!! )
I'd like to donate to CAI but can't do it online because I don't have a credit card right now.
Could you please send me the mailing address for me to send a check?
Donald Ramsey

R. Sungenis: Donald, you can send your contributions to CAI, 14413 Walnut Loop, Greencastle, PA, 17225. Thank you very much for your generosity.


Question 49- The Prodigal Son: What does it teach us about Punishment?

Dear Robert Sungenis,

Thanks for clarifying that matter on whether Christ took our punishment or
not. Having said that, I am still rather confused about this matter in
regards to the parable of the prodigal son. If this parable is about the
nature of the father. Why in this parable do we not see the father
chastising the son when he returns home, admittedly the father allows him to
suffer the consequences of his sin, but he doesn't appear to directly punish
him or chastise him when he returns, but throws a party for him

In the catechism we read,"....punishments must not be conceived of as a kind
of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very
nature of sin (within 1471-1473)." The Catechism and the parable seem to
imply to me, that God doesn't DIRECTLY punish us today, but rather lets us
suffer from the consequences of our sins.

Your comments on this are very much appreciated. Your books and web site
have been a real blessing to me over the last few years.

God Bless you abundantly,


R. Sungenis: The prodigal son parable is not a theological treatise on salvation and punishments, but merely a story showing how much joy God has over sinners that repent, and also to show the Jews of his day that they represented the older son. If we want information on punishment, then we must consult the passages that deal specifically with it, and the historical narratives that include punishment.


Question 50- Does God punish us with sickness today?

Dear CAI,

Does God send sickness to punish people today under the new covenant? I have heard so many people say that it is distorted thinking to think that God sends people sickness, but in the OT there are so many stories of God sending sickness to people, help I am confused!


R. Sungenis: Yes, God sends sickness today. God is in control of everything. Not a sparrow drops from the sky without God's consent, as Jesus taught us (Matthew 5-6). As God told Moses, He alone makes the deaf, the dumb and the blind (Exodus 3-4).