Conservative Colloquium

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Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

Hypocrisy, Abuse, and Truth in the Catholic Church

Posted by Tony Listi on August 15, 2010

Hypocrisy and abuse are no proof of error; they are proof of weak, sinful human beings. To point to hypocrisy or abuse in argumentation is an ad hominem fallacy, a fallacy that many dissenters to and enemies of the Catholic Church employ over and over again.

The distinction between abstract/absolute ideas and and individual actions is crucial to the acceptance of the Catholic faith (or any belief system for that matter). Yet many people are unable to understand or unwilling to accept this crucial distinction. 

If the saints of the Church are not proof of the truth of Catholic doctrines, then neither are corrupt clergy proof of the error of Catholic doctrines. Doctrinal truth is not dependent on the character of individual men and women but upon the Holy Spirit acting through the offices of pope and bishop, who declare what is true doctrine (1 Tim 4:11, 6:2-5; Titus 1:13, 2:1, 15).

St. Peter and St. Paul were both sinners and hypocrites, as Scripture tells us. Peter is rebuked by Paul because of Peter’s hypocrisy in declaring no food unclean and circumcision unnecessary at the Council of Jerusalem yet drawing away from the Gentiles in fear of “the circumcision party” (Gal 2:12-14; Act 11:1-18, 15:6-14). Paul too showed himself to be a hypocrite to Christian teaching in his trivial quarrel with Barnabas over John Mark and in his other sins (Act 15:37-40; Rom 7:14-25).

Did the sins of Peter and Paul make their teachings any less true? Of course not!

Truth does not cease being truth just because an individual acts sinfully and in contradiction to truth that he knows to be true and has preached to be true. This truth about truth is true even in the case of popes, bishops, and priests.  The sins of clergy or individual lay Catholics have not and cannot change Catholic truths, which Catholic clergy, esp. the popes, have merely preserved and passed on since the time of the original apostles.

So it doesn’t matter how many times you bring up the Crusades, Inquisition, adulterous popes and clergy, individual Catholics complicit in the Holocaust, leftist Catholics like Nancy Pelosi, pedophile priests, abuse of annulments, or any other scandal, whether real or false: NONE of these things have changed Catholic doctrine over time. Nor could they.

That this is an historical fact is a tangible testament to the unique work and presence of the Holy Spirit in the Roman Catholic Church, which has preserved correct doctrine without change for about 2000 years. Jesus was not lying when He said that His Church built upon the Rock of Cephas would not fail.

The Roman Catholic Church is holy, not because its leaders and members have been or are sinless but because by the power of the Holy Spirit it possesses certain and true doctrines without error, doctrines that can be traced historically through Church history back to the beginning. “If the root is holy, so are the branches” (Rom 11:16).

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What Your Campus Services Coordinator Can Do For You

Posted by Tony Listi on February 28, 2010

Campus Services Coordinators (CSCs) offer so many benefits and services to students that sometimes it can be hard for students to grasp all of them and take full advantage of staff and resources. We can turn your student group into an effective political machine.

Here’s what your CSC can offer you:

  1. Understanding: We were in your shoes not very long ago. All of us CSCs recently graduated from college and were politically active as students. We know exactly what it’s like to be frustrated with leftist bias and abuse on campus. But we also know what it takes to fight back successfully!
  2. Expertise: Well-run political campaigns have savvy political consultants, shouldn’t your student group have one too? Each CSC is an expert in political organization and activism, especially at the campus level. Drawing on our experiences in college and our own training through the Leadership Institute, we can help you navigate the stormy political seas of student activism!
  3. Training: Your CSC can set up three different types of youth training for you and your group:
    1. Youth Leadership School: how to run a youth campaign and organize students politically in general
    2. Student Publications Workshop: how to start and run a student publication
    3. Campus Election Workshop: how to win student government elections
  4. Fundraising Assistance: “You can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent.” To be a successful student group, you’re going to need funding. Some universities may offer funds. Even so, it is important to organize your own independent fundraising operations. Your CSC can help your craft an effective fundraising strategy. We can help you draft an effective direct mail fundraising letter. find potential donors, and provide other assistance for top groups.
  5. Media/Public Relations Assistance: “If the media didn’t cover it, it didn’t happen.” To be a successful group, you need a good PR operation. You have to develop a good message and get it out to your target audience and beyond. Your CSC can help you develop your message, write a press release, and distribute it to the major media outlets in your locality (and state).
  6. Resource Materials: There are tons of resource materials on Your CSC can draw your attention to the specific materials you need and can send you supplementary materials.
  7. Other Opportunities: and other conservative organizations offer many special opportunities throughout the year: special nationwide initiatives, student activism awards, essay scholarships, internship opportunities, etc.

What you can do to help your CSC help you:

  1. Communicate regularly with your CSCs! It’s hard for us to help you if we don’t know what is happening with your group and your campus.
  2. Blog regularly on your campus subsite! In addition to publicizing and permanently recording what’s happening on your campus and your group’s activities, your blog posts are another way to inform CSCs about your situation. We read all the posts from our region.
  3. Report incidents of leftist abuse and bias! We will evaluate the report and help you respond.

Campus Services Coordinators are at your service. Just shoot us a message or give us a call. Together we can take back American campuses from the left!

Posted in Government and Politics, Political Activism, Student Activism, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Biblical Evidence for Indulgences and the History Surrounding Their Abuse

Posted by Tony Listi on December 19, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007
By Dave Armstrong

Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever
you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth
shall be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 18:18 “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever
you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the
sins of any, they are retained.”

These passages form the biblical basis for priestly absolution (forgiveness),
and broadly speaking, for both papal and Church jurisdiction (by extension, for
the power to impose penance — binding, retaining — and to grant indulgences —
loosing, forgiving). Matthew 16:19 was spoken by our Lord to St. Peter alone,
and is the primary foundation for the concept of the papacy (along with the
preceding verse). Matthew 18:18 and John 20:23 were directed toward the twelve
disciples. From these verses, among others, the Catholic Church deduces the
power and governing jurisdiction of the bishops (in agreement with the pope),
especially in an ecumenical Council such as Trent or Vatican II.

Karl Adam, in his marvelously insightful book, The Spirit of Catholicism,
comments on the Catholic belief in indulgences:

“The Church in virtue of her power of binding and loosing may supplement the
poverty of one member out of the wealth of another . . . All the main ideas
upon which the doctrine of indulgences is based — the necessity of expiation
for sin, the co-operative expiation of the members of the Body of Christ, the
Church’s power so to bind and loose on earth that her action is valid in
heaven — all these ideas are contained in holy Scripture.
So that although the historical form of the indulgence has undergone some
change . . . and may in the future undergo further change, and although the
theology of indulgences has only been gradually elaborated, yet in its
substance the doctrine is in line with the pure thought of the Scriptures.
Here, as in no other practice of the Church, do the members of the Body of
Christ co-operate in loving expiation. All the earnestness and joyfulness,
humility and contrition, love and fidelity, which animate the Body are here
especially combined and manifested.”

1 Corinthians 5:3-5 “I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord
Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my
spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man
to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the
day of the Lord Jesus.” {see 5:1-2}

2 Corinthians 2:6-8,10-11 “For such a one this punishment by the majority is
enough; so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be
overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him . .
. Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive . . . in the presence of Christ, to
keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his

St. Paul in his commands and exhortations to the Corinthians is in entire
agreement with the Catholic tenets of penance and indulgences. He binds in 1
Corinthians 5:3-5 and looses in 2 Corinthians 2:6-7,10, acting as a type of
papal figure in 2 Corinthians 2:10, much like St. Peter among the Apostles. He
forgives, and bids the Corinthian elders to forgive also, even though the
offense was not committed against them personally. Clearly, both parties are
acting as God’s representatives in the matter of the forgiveness of sins and the
remission of sin’s temporal penalties (an indulgence). In this as in all other
doctrinal matters, the Catholic Church is grounded in the Bible, takes seriously
all that it teaches, and grapples with all the implications and deepest
wellsprings of Truth to be found within the pages of God’s Holy Scriptures.

Cardinal Gibbons elaborates:

“Here we have all the elements that constitute an Indulgence. First — A
penance, or temporal punishment proportioned to the gravity of the offence, is
imposed on the transgressor. Second — The penitent is truly contrite for his
crime. Third — This determines the Apostle to remit the penalty. Fourth —
The Apostle considers the relaxation of the penance ratified by Jesus Christ,
in whose name it is imparted.”

The doctrine of penance was indisputably believed and practiced by the early
Church, as reputable Protestant Church history reference works admit. It
was firmly established in the early Church, and did not substantially change in
the Middle Ages, but was only developed, like all Catholic doctrines. It was the
subject of much reasoned speculation and discussion among the Scholastics (such
as St. Thomas Aquinas), but it was neither invented nor distorted at this time,
as the above biblical evidence proves conclusively.

As penance is the imposition of (and, it is hoped, voluntary acceptance of)
temporal punishment or penalties for sin, so indulgences are the remission or
relaxation of these same temporal penalties, by virtue of the prayer and
penitence (of various sorts) of others in the Church. The doctrine of
indulgences presupposes both the Communion of Saints and the treasury of
merits, ultimately derived from the Person and work of Jesus Christ, secondarily
through the holiness of the saints and especially the Blessed Virgin.
The Church has the jurisdiction to mercifully dispense these accumulated merits
to those who possess less merit (see 1 Corinthians 12:26). Indulgences are
a logical extension of infused justification and penance, and are essentially
the same as any spiritual or temporal benefit applied to a person due to the
prayer of another. In both cases, one Christian is assisted by the loving act of

The Council of Trent forbade the selling of indulgences, since abuses had become
scandalous in the preceding period, thus agreeing with Luther and the
Protestants on this point, while retaining the doctrine itself (not wanting to
“throw the baby out with the bath water”). In recent decrees on this
doctrine, the Church has stressed that the pious disposition of the receiver of
an indulgence is of foremost and primary importance (similar to the use of
sacramentals, such as holy water).

To summarize, Catholics believe that sin causes a cosmic disturbance and is a
direct insult to God, our Creator, and that it also perpetuates destructive
tendencies and practices in the individual and disastrous results within the
Church and the human community. Sin effects a breach in our “friendship”
with God, which requires some sort of reparation.
Penance and indulgences are complementary aspects of the thoroughly biblical and
harmonious Catholic system of theology wherein actual, infused justification (as
opposed to merely imputed, forensic, or declared justification) takes place. If
indeed, God’s goal is to free us of sin in this life — as Catholics believe —
then the expiation and elimination of sin is of the utmost importance: hence the
doctrine and practice of penance.

Past Abuse of Indulgences
Bertrand Conway writes of the controversial history of indulgences:
“Catholic historians — Gasquet, Pastor, Janssen, Michaels, Paulus — have
frequently mentioned the abuses connected with the preaching of Indulgences in
the Middle Ages. The medieval pardoner . . . was often an unscrupulous rascal,
whose dishonesty and fraud were condemned by the Bishops of the time. We find
orders for their arrest in Germany at the Council of Mainz in 1261, and in
England by order of the Bishop of Durham in 1340. To indict the Church for these
abuses . . . is manifestly dishonest . . .

“It is comparatively easy today to get monies for any charitable enterprise, for
we can appeal to thousands by letter, post, radio or the daily press. In the
Middle Ages, when men wished to build a church or support a worthy charity, the
Bishop or Pope granted an Indulgence, which first of all called upon the people
to approach the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, and then ‘to lend a
helping hand’ in some special work of charity. The Council of Trent, following
the Councils of Fourth Lateran [1215], Lyons [1245 and 1274] and Vienne
[1311-12], condemned in express terms ‘the wicked abuse of quaestors of alms,’
and, because of the great scandal they had given, ‘abolished their name and use.’
“While Catholics believe that the building of St. Peter’s in Rome was a matter
of interest to the whole Catholic world, they heartily condemn with Grisar and
Janssen [Catholic historians] the manner of financing the Indulgence, and the
exaggerations of the preachers in extolling unduly its effects and privileges.

“No one believes today the calumnies against Tetzel’s character. Luther did not
speak the truth when he asserted that ‘Tetzel sold grace for money at the
highest price.’ As both Pastor and Grisar point out, we must carefully
distinguish between Tetzel’s teaching with regard to Indulgences for the living,
and Indulgences applicable to the dead. With regard to Indulgences for the
living, his teaching, as we know from his Vorlegung and his Frankfort Theses,
was perfectly Catholic . . .
“‘As regards Indulgences for the dead,’ Pastor writes, ‘there is no doubt that
Tetzel did, according to what he considered his authoritative instructions,
proclaim as Christian doctrine that nothing but an offering of money was
required to gain the Indulgence for the dead, without there being any question
of contrition or confession. He also taught, in accordance with an opinion then
held, that an Indulgence could be applied to any given soul with unfailing
effect . . . The Papal Bull of Indulgence gave no sanction whatever to this
proposition. It was a vague scholastic opinion, rejected by the Sorbonne in
1482, and again in 1518, and certainly not a doctrine of the Church’ (History of
the Popes, vol. 7, 349). Cardinal Cajetan at the time condemned Tetzel’s
opinion, and taught that ‘while we may presume in a general way that God is
willing to accept Indulgences for the dead, we have no certainty whatever that
He does so in any particular case. That is the secret of God alone.’ In 1477
Pope Sixtus IV had expressly taught that the Church applies Indulgences for the
dead ‘by way of suffrage,’ for the souls in Purgatory are no longer subject to
her jurisdiction. They receive Indulgences not directly, but indirectly, through
the intercession of the living.”

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