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Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Church’

Priest’s Blessing or Approval Necessary to Get Married in Early Christianity (with political sidenote)

Posted by Tony Listi on January 22, 2014

Many people incorrectly believe that it was in the 16th century at the Council of Trent that the Catholic Church first began to require a priest’s or bishop’s approval to get married.

Actually, the need for a priest or bishop to bless the union of a man and woman in marriage (when one of them is Christian) goes back to the earliest centuries of Christianity.

Here are two quotes from two early Church fathers that demonstrate this historical fact:

“But it becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust. Let all things be done to the honor of God.” -St. Ignatius of Antioch (died around 98-117 AD)

“Since the contracting of marriage must be sanctified by the veiling and the blessing of the priest, how can there be any mention of a marriage, when unity of faith is wanting?” -St. Ambrose (340-397 AD)

At the Council of Trent in 1563, the Catholic Church merely reaffirmed what was taught by the earliest Christian leaders: “the approval of the bishop” and/or “the blessing of the priest” is necessary for marriage, at least for a sacramental marriage between two baptized Christians. The council did not declare anything new; it merely reaffirmed early Christian doctrine on marriage because Protestant heresiarchs were contradicting and rejecting such apostolic doctrines.

Political Sidenote:
With the cultural and political ascendancy of Christianity in the 4th century, the State began to recognize as valid civil marriages only those marriages blessed by the Catholic Church. The State did not define marriage ultimately but merely recognized in civil law the definition of marriage in ecclesial canon law.

It was only after the Protestant Revolution that the State began to arrogantly presume the authority to define marriage however it wanted (cf. Henry VIII in England). Almost 500 years later, the State now presumes to call a same-sex sexual relationship a “marriage.”

Posted in Christian Apologetics, Christianity and Politics, Church Fathers, Church History, Government and Politics, Marriage, Politics and Religion, Religion and Theology, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

“The Rock” in Scripture

Posted by Tony Listi on August 11, 2008

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus designates Peter as “the Rock” upon which he will build His Church. Protestants, so reverent of Scripture in all other cases, seem to blithely dismiss this title of Peter as of little significance.

But what exactly does the word “rock” mean in a Jewish/Scriptural context? After careful Scriptural study, Protestants might want to think twice before ignoring the preeminent authority that Scripture confers upon Peter. For in Scripture, “the Rock” is identified with shelter/refuge, strength, security, the foundation of an altar to God, the place of sacrifice to God, a stumbling block to the stubborn and disobedient, life-giving water (foreshadowing baptism?), the source of life and existence, salvation, the divine, Yahweh Himself, and Christ Himself.

“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
-Exodus 17:6 (KJV)

“Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.”
– Numbers 20:8

“And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.”
-Numbers 24:21

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”
-Deut 32:4

“How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.”
-Deut 32:30-31

“And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted….”
-Deut 32:37

“But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”
-Deut 32:15

“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.”
-Deut 32:18

“And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.”
-Judges 6:26

“So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.”
-Judges 13:19

“And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them.”
-Judges 20:45

“There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”
-1 Sam 2:2

“And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.”
-2 Sam 22:2-3

“For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?”
-2 Sam 22:32

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.”
-2 Sam 22:47

“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
-2 Sam 23:3

“And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.”
-Nehemiah 9:15

“They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.”
-Job 24:8

“Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.”
-Job 39:28

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
-Psalm 18:2

“For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?”
-Psalm 18:31

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”
-Psalm 18:46

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”
-Psalm 27:5

“Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.”
-Psalm 28:1

“Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”
-Psalm 31:2-3

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
-Psalm 40:2

“I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
-Psalm 42:9

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
-Psalm 61:2

“He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.”
-Psalm 62:2 & 6

“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”
-Psalm 62:7

“Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.”
-Psalm 71:3

“He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.”
-Psalm 78:16

“Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?”
-Psalm 78:20

“And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.”
-Psalm 78:35

“He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.”
-Psalm 89:26

“To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
-Psalm 92:15

“But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.”
-Psalm 94:22

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
-Psalm 95:1

“He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.”
-Psalm 105:41

“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.”
-Isaiah 2:10

“Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips….”
-Isaiah 17:10

“And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.”
-Isaiah 48:21

“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”
-Isaiah 51:1

“O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth.”
-Jeremiah 48:28

What else does the Gospel of Matthew say about rocks?

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
-Mt 7:24-25

What else does the New Testament say?

“He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”
-Luke 6:48

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
– 1 Cor 10:4

“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
-1 Pet 2:8

Search Bible Gateway for yourself: http://www.biblegateway.com

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Religion and Theology, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Contraception: Why Not?

Posted by Tony Listi on April 20, 2008

Dr. Janet Smith explains why the Catholic Church keeps insisting, in the face of the opposite position held by most of the rest of the modern world, that contraception is one of the worst inventions of our time.

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html

My topic for tonight is the Church’s teaching on contraception and various sexual issues. As you know, we live in a culture that thinks that contraception is one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. If you were to ask people if they wanted to give up their car or their computer or their contraceptive, it would be a hard choice to make. It’s really considered to be something that has really put us, greatly, into the modern age and one of the greatest advances of modern medicine and modern times. Yet, there’s this archaic church that tells us that, really, this is one of the worst inventions of mankind. According to the Church, contraception is one of the things that’s plunging us into a kind of a disaster.

So we have this great polarization: a world that thinks contraception is one of the greatest inventions of our time and the Catholic Church that says it’s one of the worst. I am going to try to help people see tonight why the Church’s teaching certainly deserves serious consideration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in American Culture, Catholicism, Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Moral Philosophy, Religion and Theology, Science and Religion, Sex | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

There Are No New Deadly Sins!

Posted by Tony Listi on March 12, 2008

I am disgusted with how the statements from the Vatican have been misrepresented in the media, that people have been falling for this sensationalism, and that some people have been eager to believe the worst about the Catholic Church without skepticism. There is a enough blame to go around for this fiasco, but the Vatican needs better public relations training and personnel. This is not the first time something like this has happened.

Sensationalist Reporting Muddles Catholic Social Teaching 
http://blog.acton.org/archives/2232-Sensationalist-Reporting-Muddles-Catholic-Social-Teaching.html

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
“Recycle or go to Hell, warns Vatican”. “Vatican Increases List of Mortal Sins”, “Vatican lists ‘new sins’, including pollution”. These were three of the most sensationalist headlines in yesterday’s English-speaking press, picking up on an interview with a Vatican official published in L’Osservatore Romano on Sunday.

The official, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, is the second-in-command at the Apostolic Penitentiary (despite the name, it is not a jail but the Vatican office responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins in the Roman Catholic Church). The bishop spoke the day after the Penitentiary concluded a course for confessors. The bulk of the interview dealt with matters concerning canon law and the sacrament of confession, items of little interest to the general public. But the bishop also spoke about some new forms of social sin. Here are the relevant questions and answers:

Sometimes people do not understand the Church’s (issuing of) indulgences and Christian forgiveness? Why do you think it is that way?

“Today it seems that repentance is taken to mean opening one’s self to others when resolving issues found within his or her own special social sphere, within which one expresses his very own existence, and does so by offering his own contribution of clarification and support for those having such problems. Repentance, therefore, today takes on a (special) social dimension, due to the fact that relationships have grown weaker and more complicated because of globalization.”

In your opinion, what are the “new sins”?

“There are various areas today in which we adopt sinful behavior, as with individual and social rights. This is especially so in the field of bioethics where we cannot deny the existence of violations of fundamental rights of human nature – this occurs by way of experiments and genetic modifications, whose results we cannot easily predict or control. Another area, which indeed pertains to the social spectrum, is that of drug use, which weakens our minds and reduces our intelligence. As a result, many young people are left out of Church circles. Here’s another one: social and economic inequality, in the sense that the rich always seem to get richer, and the poor, poorer. This [phenomenon] feeds off an unsustainable form of social injustice and is related to environmental issues -which currently have much relevant interest.”

Anyone reading these passages can see that the Church is not proposing any new list of mortal sins, and certainly did not list “obscene wealth” and “pollution” as matters to be confessed by the faithful. The bishop simply referred to the social consequences of sin, some of which seem to be exacerbated by an increasingly inter-connected world.

So how did the American and British press reports get it so wrong? Back in February 2007, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter wrote an incisive piece about irresponsible reporting at the Vatican, and there is even an entire website, GetReligion.org, devoted to this problem.

Having worked in the Vatican for several years, I know many of the beat reporters, including some of those who botched this social sin story. Most have absolutely no interest in the larger theological or philosophical issues discussed at high levels, so in a way this is all the fruit of culpable ignorance.

But real damage is done to the Church and her flock by such slipshod reporting. Knowledge of Catholic social doctrine has surely suffered and people who may otherwise be interested in the Church have been driven away, all in the name of an eye-catching headline.

Thankfully, not all the news is bad. Institutions such as the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross have started seminars to train journalists in reporting on the Church, though it seems not all the English-speaking ones in Rome have yet been able to attend.

Listen also to:
http://bonhoeffer.acton.org/acton_media/mp3/2008-03-11_Miller.mp3

Read the original interview that caused this pseudo-controversy:
http://blog.acton.org/uploads/penitentiary_interview.pdf

Posted in Catholicism, Christianity and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Religion and Theology, The Media, Old and New | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Catholic Church has NOT been the enemy of the Bible throughout history!

Posted by Tony Listi on December 7, 2007

John, this is for you. Scripture aside, your historical perspective just seems wildly false. I’d be curious to know who you cite for your history of the Catholic Church.

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/05/catholic-church-has-always-been-enemy.html

by Dave Armstrong

This is one of the most cherished anti-Catholic myths, yet it is an outrageous falsehood: easily disproven by fair-minded historical investigation. The facts which run counter to this viewpoint will be summarized below.

Perhaps the best and most decisive response to this myth is to cite the preface of the King James 1611 English translation of the Bible, which describes the long history of vernacular translations in England long before Protestantism ever arose:

“Much about that time [1360], even our King Richard the Second’s days, John Trevisa translated them into English, and many English Bibles in written hand are yet to be seen that divers translated, as it is very probable, in that age . . . So that, to have the Scriptures in the mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up, . . . but hath been thought upon, and put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any Nation; no doubt, because it was esteemed most profitable, to cause faith to grow in men’s hearts the sooner, . . .”

The history of English Bible translation (preceded earlier by editions in the earlier common language of Anglo-Saxon) is very long, starting with Caedmon in the 7th century, Aldhelm (c. 700), the Venerable Bede (d. 735), followed by Eadhelm, Guthlac, and Egbert (all in Saxon, the vernacular language of that time in England). King Alfred the Great (849-99) translated the Bible, as did Aelfric (d.c. 1020). Middle English translations included those of Orm (late 12th c.) and Richard Rolle (d. 1349).

Vernacular Bibles in many languages appeared throughout the early and late Middle Ages (after Latin ceased being a common, widespread language). Between 1466 and 1517 fourteen translations of the Bible were published in High German, and five in Low German. Raban Maur had translated the entire Bible into Teutonic, or old German, in the late 8th century. Between 1450 to 1520 there were ten French translations, and also Bibles rendered in Belgian, Bohemian, Spanish, Hungarian, and Russian. 25 Italian versions (with express Church sanction) appeared before 1500, starting at Venice in 1471.

The accusation that the Catholic Church chained Bibles in order to keep them from the common people, is equally wrongheaded and historically misinformed. The exact opposite is true: Bibles were chained in libraries so that they would not be stolen, precisely because they were so valued and treasured (especially before the invention of the movable-type printing press in the mid-15th century), in order to be more accessible to all. Protestants did the same thing themselves for some 300 years. For example, Eton and Merton Colleges (Oxford) did not remove their chained Bibles until the 18th century.

The Catholic Church, as the guardian of Holy Scripture, opposed only unauthorized translations, which is no different from many Protestants today who protest against various translations as “liberal” or inaccurate, due to a perceived bias based on the religious beliefs of the translator(s). This flows from a praiseworthy concern for the accurate transmission of God’s word. Likewise, the Catholic Church is entitled to have an opinion on the matter without being unjustly accused of being “anti-Bible.” The early Protestants, including Martin Luther himself, often censored or prohibited Catholic translations in their districts, on the same basis (while they also were prohibiting the Mass). It is a double standard, then, to accuse the Catholic Church of something that Protestants have always selectively done, too.

The Church, it’s true, prohibited vernacular Bible reading in some circumstances because false doctrine was already rampant, such as in 1229, when the bizarre Gnostic cult of Catharism was influential. Protestants claim that the Bible is clear enough to stop such cults, yet since they have never achieved doctrinal unity in their own ranks based on the Bible Alone, this premise is highly questionable. Moreover, this objection neglects to see that all Bible interpretation occurs within a context of an overall belief-system and tradition. If Baptists read the Bible together, they will arrive at Baptist doctrine, because groups have a way of preserving their own particular beliefs and biases.

According to Protestant Church historian James Gairdner in his Lollardy and the Reformation in England (Vol. 1 of 4, 1908, 105, 117):

“The truth is, the Church of Rome was not at all opposed to the making of translations of Scripture or to placing them in the hands of the laity under what were deemed proper precautions. It was only judged necessary to see that no unauthorized or corrupt translations got abroad; and even in this matter it would seem that the authorities were not roused to special vigilance till they took alarm at the diffusion of Wycliffite translations in the generation after his death.

. . . To the possession by worthy lay men of licensed translations the Church was never opposed; but to place such a weapon as an English Bible in the hands of men who had no regard for authority, and who would use it without being instructed how to use it properly, was dangerous not only to the souls of those who read, but to the peace and order of the Church.”

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Religion and Theology | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »