apologetics

Carlos Caso-Rosendi

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In this article we deal with two intimately related themes: Sacred Scripture and the Catholic Faith. We will briefly go over several topics related with those two main themes. By way of introduction we will define how Catholics view the Bible, why we believe that the Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant Word of God and—a very important issue—why Catholics believe that the only way to prove logically and rationally that the Scriptures are indeed the Word of God runs parallel to the path that the Catholic Church has traveled since its foundation by Christ in 33 A.D.

Those who are willing to believe in the Bible will find here the reasons to believe also in the Catholic Church, the legitimate owner of the Holy Scriptures, who produced, kept and gave to the world that magnificent testimony of God. Since the Bible is and always will be a Catholic book, we can say the Word of God comes to us through the Church. One cannot believe in the Scriptures without believing in the Church, whose saints and sages wrote the Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit. Catholic faithful kept the Bible and studied it with reverence throughout the centuries. It is therefore impossible to separate the Bible and the Church.

The reader will see how the Catholic treatment of the Word of God can open the doors of the Church to those who —having faith in Jesus Christ—seek the whole truth of God and the salvation of their souls. Understanding the Scriptures allows man to approach salvation. Rejecting the divine truths expressed in the Scriptures leads to the destruction of the soul. Saint Peter warns us of such danger:

2 Peter 2: 1-7 — But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers[a] the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deep darkness to be kept until the judgement; and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on a world of the ungodly; and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless

2 Peter 3: 15-18 —  Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

According to St. Peter, we have the duty to be vigilant growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. St. Jeromethe first Catholic translator of the Old Testamentsaid it clearly: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” [1]

However, our duty is not confined to our own salvation. We must also work to communicate that salvation to others. That is essentially “the great commission”  entrusted to every Christian. Certainly bishops, priests, and other religious in the Church should work with one goal in mind: the salvation of souls. However, this does not exempt the laity from their responsibility to take the Gospel to others, since we are all instruments used by God to save those who seek Him. To fulfill this obligation in this age, it is essential to know the Scriptures and to know how to use them in defending the faith.

On our way through life we will find many who say they believe in Christ and who erroneously affirm that the Holy Scriptures are the final authority in the search for truth. Many of those believers develop an admirable skill in the handling of certain parts of the Scriptures. It is also true that some hold Catholics in contempt, since few ordinary Catholics can defend their faith with skill and precision. This gives the ‘biblical Christians’ a certain false security in their own strength. As Catholics, we want to find those people right where they are. We must recover for our time the old apologetic tradition of the Church, affirmed by St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest expounders of the Scriptures that the Church has produced. The great Aquinas was very careful to know the arguments of his adversaries. Having studied his adversaries’ arguments well, he improved and polished them. Then he contrasted those arguments with the truths of the Church, that he explained skillfully and modestly.

Partial knowledge of the Scriptures is bad in those who are “ignorant and unstable” “interpreting them crookedly” but it can also affect those Catholics who willfully remain in ignorance, risking to be dragged out of the Church by spurious arguments they cannot argue with.

Someone could approach a poorly prepared Catholic and quote Exodus 20: 4 “You shall not make images” and condemn the Catholic custom of having images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. How will the ill-prepared Catholic defend his faith? St Peter has already warned us of such situations.

1 Peter 3: 15 — Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you

The expression that is translated “make your defense” in our language is related to the English word “apologetics” that comes from the eclesial Latin apologetĭcus, which in turn comes from the Greek ἀπολογητικός apologētikós which are the arguments that are exposed to prove the truth of a religion, or philosophical proposal. [2]

Then, when some ‘Bible Christian’ tells us that in Matthew 23: 9 Jesus himself forbids the religious use of the word “father”, what are we to respond? Or perhaps we are challenged with arguments like “There are so many Catholic traditions that are not mentioned in the Bible! Black cassocks, holy water, mantillas, the sign of the Cross, the Crucifix, and many others … the Lord Jesus has condemned the traditions of men … etc.” Hence the necessity for the lay Catholic to know the Scriptures sufficiently to to be able to respond accurately, authoritatively and with dignity. These days one can easily carry this book and a good Catholic Bible in a smartphone where it is easy to find the topic in the index and see how to deal with the situation.

God created us to know him, to love him and to serve him loyally in this world so that we can be partakers of his happiness in Heaven. The first of those obligations is to know God, that is, to have a good knowledge of God. We begin to know God by listening to His word at Mass and by reading the Scriptures. In that way we are feeding our intellect  in order to love him and serve him better.

THE SCRIPTURES AND THE CHURCH

One important mission of the Church is to teach the world the truth about God. Our ‘biblical Christian’ responds that he no longer needs the Catholic Church because he already has the Scriptures. Unwittingly, our friend shows how he ignores that the Bible is a Catholic book, written by Catholics, for Catholics; a book that came out of the Catholic Church, which the Church preserved, a book rightly belonging to Catholics. The Catholic Church determined which books belonged to the inspired canon, and which books would be left out of that list. [3] For all those reasons it would be illogical to believe in the Scriptures without believing at the same time in the Church that gathered them, sanctioned their canon, and presented them to the world.

Our friendly ‘Bible Christian’ may be aware of the widespread ignorance of the Scriptures among Catholic laity and may be moved to say, “We Bible Christians appreciate and exalt this treasure that Catholics ignore and do not appreciate.” And here we must admit that he has a point. The very purpose of this article is to help reverse that deplorable situation! But we can still say that the Scriptures are presented daily at Holy Mass. The readings for each Mass are part of the Bible. More so, there is no part of the Mass that is not related to the Scriptures.

It is regrettable to see that many Catholics have never noticed where the Mass readings come from, even though they often hear those words piously and diligently. When we pray the Rosary, the mysteries are connected with scenes and teachings of the Bible. In the same way many Catholic devotions, novenas, breviaries, prayers, indulgences, sacramental phrases, etc. breathe the same Sacred Scriptures. Even so, some people do not see the connection between practical devotion and Scripture itself. That is how the Sacred Tradition of the Church throughout  the ages links to the inerrant and inspired truth of the Scriptures. In the past, when agnostics and heretics began blatantly to point to supposed “errors and contradictions” in the Bible, the Church always came in its defense. We can affirm that the Catholic Church never needed to erase a single letter of the Holy Bible because it was found in contradiction with Church tradition. That has never happened and will never happen! However, the overwhelming majority of these ‘Bible Christians’ have in their libraries an incomplete copy of the Bible. Neither Jesus Christ, nor his holy apostles ever removed any books from Scripture. Those books were removed from the canonfifteen centuries after Christ walked this earthby a group of German dissenters whose spiritual descendants today believe, quite wrongly, that they are the only ones who respect and defend the integrity of the Scriptures.

DOCTRINAL INFALLIBILITY OF THE SCRIPTURES

The Church instructs that the Scriptures are inerrant and infallible in everything they teach. The Church encourages, exhorts and rewards assiduous reading of the Scriptures. She also encourages and blesses the faithful who are responsible students of Scripture. We believe as a Church that God is the author of the Bible. The Scriptures are perfect and true in everything they express without exception, being also essential for the salvation of the faithful. That is the eternal teaching of the Church in regard to the Scriptures.

Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, 1 —  The God of all Providence, Who in the adorable designs of His love at first elevated the human race to the participation of the Divine nature, and afterwards delivered it from universal guilt and ruin, restoring it to its primitive dignity, has in consequence bestowed upon man a splendid gift and safeguard – making known to him, by supernatural means, the hidden mysteries of His Divinity, His wisdom and His mercy. For although in Divine revelation there are contained some things which are not beyond the reach of unassisted reason, and which are made the objects of such revelation in order “that all may come to know them with facility, certainty, and safety from error, yet not on this account can supernatural Revelation be said to be absolutely necessary; it is only necessary because God has ordered man to a supernatural end.” This supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal Church, is contained both in unwritten Tradition, and in written Books, which are therefore called sacred and canonical because, “being written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author and as such have been delivered to the Church.” This belief has been perpetually held and professed by the Church in regard to the Books of both Testaments; and there are well-known documents of the gravest kind, coming down to us from the earliest times, which proclaim that God, Who spoke first by the Prophets, then by His own mouth, and lastly by the Apostles, composed also the Canonical Scriptures, and that these are His own oracles and wordsa Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country. If, then, such and so great is the excellence and the dignity of the Scriptures, that God Himself has composed them, and that they treat of God’s marvelous mysteries, counsels and works, it follows that the branch of sacred Theology which is concerned with the defense and elucidation of these divine Books must be excellent and useful in the highest degree.

The Church knows that by God’s will, all of His Holy Sacraments have been expressed in the Scriptures. The Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in the Gospel of John:

John 6: 53 — So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation …

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

And of the Anointing of the Sick …

James 5: 14 — Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.

Baptism and Baptismal Regeneration …

John 3: 5 — Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

Mark 16: 9-20 — And he said to them: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

This is how all the dogmas of faith are made clear by the simple meaning of the Scriptures in the context of the Sacred Tradition of the Church. A Tradition endorsed by the authority received by the apostles of Christ himself. That Holy Tradition is transmitted through the centuries by that sacred institution we know today as the Holy Catholic Church.

Many disbelieve the verses quoted in Mark 16: 9-20 and judge it spurious, inserted in the Scriptures with the intention to confuse. Why do they think so? Because this part of the Gospel that comes straight from Jesus, sounds inconvenient to the followers of Luther’s doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” Here we need  to pause and carefully analyze that belief promoted by an Augustinian monk and Catholic priest, who lived fifteen centuries after Christ.

If someone declares this part of Scripture as “wrong” or “doubtful”or worse! supposedly maliciously inserted to promote errorthat person is implicitly denying the inerrancy of the Scriptures. If that person purposely removes several books that were part of the canon of the Scriptures in apostolic times: [4] How can that person even imply that the Catholic Church does not give enough honor to the Scriptures? Could the thief who stole the chicken accuse the owner of mistreating the poor bird? This is such a curious position that  it would be funny if it were not very serious. You could say that it is a typical case of chutzpah. That is a Yiddish word jokingly defined as “the attitude of a man who, after murdering his parents, asks the judge for mercy for being an orphan.”

We see then that the warning in 2 Peter 2:13 is not unfounded. The Scriptures can be “twisted” by false shepherds resulting in the downfall of the false teachers. That is why we need the Church to preserve ancient manuscripts, to translate from the original languages, to teach in seminaries and colleges. We need the security of the apostolic authority on which the very integrity of the Scriptures rests.

It is true that the Scriptures are translated and reproduced by imperfect and fallible human beings who make mistakes. That is why it is necessary to have a collegiate authority that determines the integrity of the work of translators, compilers and teachers. “In the abundance of counselors there is knowledge.” (Proverbs 11:14)

STUDYING AND UNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES

God cannot be alien to the preaching of the Gospel. It is God in his divine providence who left us the Church as a magisterial authority. The perfect work of God was not simply left in the world to be interpreted by deluded or ignorant men. The Word of God that sanctifies the faithful in the truth, was not preserved for centuries in the Church so that anyone can do as he pleases with that treasure. What does Christ say?

John 17: 17 — Sanctify them in your truth; your word is the truth.

The understanding of the truths of God is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. That understanding can be cultivated through reading holy books, study, and prayer. We to grasp the meaning of the revealed doctrines of the Christian religion by learning to enjoy the encounter with God in the mysteries of faith. That prepares us to penetrate the intimate meaning of the revelation that rekindles our life. Thus our faith ceases to be sterile, superficial, and inactive; giving rise to the birth of a new person whose changed conduct is the most eloquent witness of the faith. We begin to walk in a dignified way, growing joyfully in the knowledge of God.

How can we understand Scripture correctly? Aren’t there “passages difficult to understand, which some ignorant and unstable people interpret crookedly”? Surely we do not want to be counted among those who twist the meaning of the Scriptures out of ignorance! For that purpose we have the magisterial authority of the Church, who is Mother and Teacher and wants the best for her children: truth, life, and salvation. God has not left us alone in the world with a book. He has remained with us and has given us a community, a family that treasures that book as a gift from God. Pope Leo XIII says that the Bible is “a letter granted by the heavenly Father to the human race” that he sends us while we are pilgrims away from our celestial homeland.

WHERE DOES THE BIBLE COME FROM?

Therefore we can conclude that the Bible is good but it is not absolutely sufficient for salvation. Christ founded the Church that produced the Bible. The Scriptures did not fall from a cloud, they are part of the living testimony of the servants of God through the centuries. A testimony that the Church confirms by her authority received from God.

Without the Catholic Church, the ‘Bible Christians’ cannot satisfactorily prove that the Bible is the Word of God. They have natural faith and accept the Word of God as suchthat’s not badbut when it comes to bearing witness of the faith to those who do not believe, some evidence is missing because they lack the living testimony of the Church. How does that work? We must go back to the early years of the Church to find that out. In the religious context of the Roman Empire, Christians did not have exactly what it was needed to convert all of the empire. And yet they did it. How? That is the most amazing of the historical proofs of the Divinity of Christ and the authority of the Church.

First imagine a Greek or a Roman, pagan, a devotee of Mars, Mitra, Apollo, Ceres, or any other popular cult in the vast empire. A Christian approaches him and invites him to believe in Christ. The Christian religion was new to the contemporaries of Christ and it was normal for them to see it more or less as follows: “Christ was a Jew, a holy man who was crucified by a Roman proconsul in a distant province of the Empire. His disciples say that he died but God raised him from the dead. Christ became visible among men for a time but then he went to Heaven and will soon return with great power and glory to eliminate evil and death in all the earth. Meanwhile Christ remains among his believers by presenting himself as bread and wine which are his flesh and blood, which one must eat and drink (in the appearance of bread and wine) in order to be saved from eternal death. Meanwhile those who believe in such proposition and become Christians, are at serious risk of offending the authorities and being thrown to the beasts of the Circus Maximus after being beaten and tortured.”

Seeing this summary from the pagan point of view, we could say that Christianity had a very unattractive marketing in the beginning. And yet, less than three hundred years after the Crucifixion, the Empire was already largely Christian and the pagans were in retreat. The reason for that triumph must be sought in the Resurrection. If Christ had not risen, his apostles would have been mere swindlers, religious storytellers as there have been thousands since the world began. However, all but one apostle died a violent death because of their faith.

The first thing that comes to mind is that a mere shaman, a snake charmer, or some other charlatan, is not going to willingly die for the lies he preaches. Between burning a little bit of incense to Caesar and being thrown to the beasts, the cynical religious deceiver will never choose the latter. The witness that the apostles gave to the whole world is very different. Those men, who for decades crossed the empire doing miracles and preaching, left a tremendous impression on the population, something that moved them to follow Christ to a cruel martyrdom. The proof is forever written in history: the Roman Catholic Church is the oldest continuous institution in the civilized world. The uninterrupted chain of Pontiffs, many of them martyrs, is an irrefutable proof of their exceptional story.

What transformed the ancient world was the message and living testimony of the Church, long before the Church produced that ordered body of inspired Scriptures that we now call “the Bible.” The Church is the daughter of the Resurrection and was preached by the apostles and disciples, who produced in their time enough supernatural evidence to convert a world that was spiritually in its death throes.

Christianity was adopted by the entire Roman Empire in just a couple of centuries. That is clearly a historical miracle that no one can deny. That the Catholic faith withstood fierce and cruel persecutions through centuries, is further evidence that early Christians were well aware of the supernatural origin of their faith, based on the conviction that Christ had risen from the dead, giving testimony among them through miracles, and the incorrupt teaching of the apostles and their successors.

THE CHURCH IS ONE FROM THE BEGINNING

When we observe the surviving testimony of the apostolic fathersthose who learned the faith at the feet of  Christ’s apostleswe can see in his words one Church and not several. That Church is clearly Catholic: with its bishops, priests, deacons, saints, the cult of Mary Most Holy, with its Roman Pontiff, its Holy Masses, confessions, penances, sacraments, indulgences, etc. In that description written in the first half of the second century, the Holy Mass is described as it was celebrated then. The author is St Justin, who lived in the first half of the second century. Here, Justin explains the Holy Mass to a pagan. See also that the basic elements of the Eucharistic celebration have not changed. Justin writes this about a hundred years after the death of Christ, about fifty years after the death of the last apostle, and about a century and a half before emperor Constantine.

St Justin, Martyr. First Apology §LXVII — “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration. ”

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH

Among the sectarians and the ‘Bible Christians’ circulate some unsubstantiated stories indicating that the Roman Catholic Church was established by Emperor Constantine. Nothing further from the historical truth. Constantine was the first to decree religious tolerance in the Empire. Previous and recent emperors, both Galerius and Diocletian had cruelly persecuted the Church. Through the edict of Milanwhose text is preserved Constantine made official the intention of the Roman Empire not to persecute the Church. At that time, Pope Sylvester was the bishop of Rome. The Church obviously existed already. If Constantine had founded it and made himself Pope, there would be some document or testimony of such revolutionary action. The Edict of Milan declared the freedom of cults for all the religions of the Empire, which included the Christians of that time. Thanks to the decree of tolerance, the Nicene Council was convened to deal with the subject of the Arian heresy. The Nicene Creed comes from that council. It is common to hear another false assertion: that Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Empire. That measure was taken by an emperor who ruled after Constantine: the Emperor Theodosius.

Taking into account what has been considered so far we canwith very clear precedentsdefine the following: those who propose to create a church of their own liking, always need to modify History and the Scriptures. Whoever studies the Sacred Scriptures, the Sacred Tradition and the historical record of humanity, will find the Church and its mission clearly defined. John Henry Newman, illustrious convert, scholar and Cardinal of the Church once said: “To be deep in History is to cease being Protestant.” And this perhaps raises the question: “Why then are there so many Protestant historians, scholars in patristics, and theologians who never converted to Catholicism?”

That question should be asked to those who, knowing the falsehood of so many propositions of the ‘Bible Christians’, are content to remain associated with those beliefs. There is no human right to error. Man has been created for Truth and Truth is not merely a “thing” or a “concept.” For us, men of flesh and blood, the Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, the Lord of History, for whom and through whom God the Father created all things. Accepting that one was created to serve the truth and not to live a lie is first a grace, that is, a gift from God that must be received gratefully by the human intellect and spirit. See John 14:6.

Lumen Gentium, 16 — […] Nor does Divine Providence deny the help necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived to an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasoning and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some are there who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

Those who, seeing and understanding clearly that the truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ exists in the Catholic Church, and for personal reasons, consciously decide not to serve God in the Church, condemn their soul because they have rejected the truth and chosen to live a lie. That is why the Church hopes, that in times to come, through an unimaginable action of divine mercy, God will approach men and make naturally evident the truth of his Church, so that everyone can agree with the centurion who recognized at the foot of the Cross: “Verily this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39) But until that moment comes, the words of Jesus Christ still hold: “He who is with me is not against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters. ”

Christ requires of his disciples that recognition at the time he establishes the Church. There is a teaching hidden in the question:

Matthew 16: 13-19 — Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ [5]

Here is the true foundation of the Church by Christ, the cornerstone, who chooses Simon the fisherman, and changes his name to Peter to be the rock on which the future generations of the Church on earth will rest. This foundation is made neither on the faith of Peter, nor on his intellect, administrative talent, education, social position, or any other qualification, but on the charge that God gives him as steward of his house. God is the one in charge of the Church. Peter is the servant of the servants of God.

That evening in Caesarea, Christ restored the royal house of Israel just as God had promised David.

Isaiah 11: 1-5 — A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

In restoring the royal house of David he also appointed over it a steward, a vizier who acts with the authority of the king of kings. God has hidden great truths in the Old Testament to reveal them in the New. This is one of the cases in which the Old Testament contains a model of things to come.

Isaiah 22: 20-23 — On that day I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and will clothe him with your robe and bind your sash on him. I will commit your authority to his hand, and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.  I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.  I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his ancestral house.

The Church is an outpost of the Kingdom of God on earth, so that Jesus Christ “dominates in the midst of his enemies” (Psalm 110: 2) while Peter and his successors are those who administer the interests of the King until his return in Glory.

This is the same Church whose authority Martin Luther rejected in 1517. That rejection had consequences that Luther probably did not expect. In a few years, the sects began to multiply. Following Luther, also Zwingli, and Calvin rejected the Church. The first Protestants rejected papal authority in 1517. Two hundred years later in 1717 European Freemasonry rejected the Church, the Pope, and Christ. Two hundred years later in 1917 the Bolshevik Revolution came to power in Russia, rejecting not only the Church but God and religion in general. [6]

The fruits of that distant rebellion that has lasted for five centuries are very evident: Protestantism is divided into thousands of branches, large and small. From the beginning, the constant divisions were Luther’s concern, as Calvin puts it:

“It is of great importance that the divisions that subsist between us should not be known to future ages, because nothing can be more ridiculous than we, whom have been forced to separate ourselves from the whole world, had so badly disagree between us since the beginning of the Reformation.”[7]

We must live and preach in this world, a world in which error threatens even to invade the Church, where there is no shortage of ill-formed, and ill-informed Catholics lacking a good knowledge of their faith. This modest article aims to group arguments and quotations from Sacred Scripture to initiate sincere Catholics in the rudiments of the defense of the faith, but also to encourage others who have faith in Christ, to find the treasures of the Church that Christ founded and from the Scriptures that the Church bequeathed to us.

Hebrews 12: 22-29 — But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven!  At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.’  This phrase ‘Yet once more’ indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe;  for indeed our God is a consuming fire.


[1] St Jerome; Commentary on Isaiah; Prologue. From Patristica Latina 24, 17.

[2] See What Is Catholic Apologetics?

[3] See Canon of Scripture in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3.IV, Sacred Scripture.

[4] The deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament objected mostly by Protestants are: The Book of Tobit, The Book of Judith, parts of the Book of Esther, the Book of Wisdom, the Ecclesiasticus, also called Wisdom of Ben Sirah. From the Book of Baruch: The Letter of Jeremiah in Baruch 6, parts of the Book of Daniel: The Prayer of Azariah in Daniel 3: 24-50, The Song of the Three Young Men in Daniel 3: 51-90, The Story of Susanna in Daniel 13, The Story of Bel and the Dragon in Daniel 14, Book I of the Maccabees, and Book II of the Maccabees.

[5] See Authority of the Church.

[6]  See Cultural Marxism.

[7] Letters of John Calvin, §141, Letter to Philipp Melanchthon.

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