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Bible Alone? Or is There More?

Bible Alone as the sole authority for faith is called Sola Scriptura.  This came from the Protestant doctrine during the Reformation revolt in the 1500’s AD.

The Bible does not teach Sola Scriptura or Bible Alone.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Bible is the sole authority of the faith.  Jesus, the Apostles, and the early church never taught Bible alone and never practiced it.  The Bible wasn’t even written when Jesus was on earth.  That  wasn’t until about 400 years later.  Bible Alone wasn’t even taught until the Reformation in the 1500’s.

The whole truth is that Sola Scriptura is a false doctrine.  Sola Scriptura creates the sole interpreter of the Bible as the Bible itself, causing an interpretation based on human opinion and multiple errors.

I was at a Lutheran Church awhile back for an occasion.  The pastor stated that “we don’t need the Catholic Church to interpret scripture.  We can do it ourselves.”  This is a serious error.  We can’t pick and choose what scripture says, we need God to make the decision of the truth and Jesus gave the authority of interpreting the Scriptures to His Church…the Catholic Church.  He did this by giving the “keys of the kingdom” to St. Peter.

Now that we know that the Sola Scriptura is not a true doctrine worthy of belief, let’s look at the Biblical truth and importance of Apostolic Tradition instead.  Apostolic Tradition will lead us to the true meaning of Scripture because without it, the meaning will become distorted and full of errors.  This is why there are so many churches who can have the same scripture on Sunday but can preach something so different.  They are interpreting it on their own.

We need Jesus’ authority and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to interpret Holy Scripture so we don’t get it wrong.  If we follow the true interpretation of the Scriptures from the Catholic Church, we will get so much more out of the Scripture.  It opens up new doors that we never knew were there.  One example is John chapter 6.  If you read it with the eyes outside of the Catholic Church, you will see Jesus speaking of a symbol but if you read it with the eyes of Catholic interpretation, you will see the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  You may say, yes but every church has their own ideas about what it means.  I say to you that truth has only one interpretation.

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What are the Stations of the Cross?

The Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross are a devotion that takes you through each part of the Passion (suffering and crucifixion) of Jesus.  This devotion typically has 14 stations although some add his resurrection to the end for a 15th station.  This devotion helps us to understand and “walk” with Jesus during his Passion and Crucifixion.  Most often, there are pictures, sculptures or statues along the walls of the Catholic Church depicting each station.  Some are very beautifully ornate.  These are not worshipped but used as a reminder of what Jesus went through for us.  These stations are all Bible based.  Typically the Stations of the Cross is done during Lent but can be done daily or weekly.  This is not done to re-crucify Jesus but to understand and devote oneself to the love of Jesus for what he did nor us.  Try this devotion this Lent and see if you don’t have a new appreciation for Jesus’ suffering for you.

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus takes up his cross
  3. Jesus falls for the first time
  4. Jesus meets his mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls a second time
  8. Jesus comforts the women
  9. Jesus falls a third time
  10. Jesus is stripped
  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
  14. Jesus is buried

A good webpage to help you pray the Stations of the Cross is http://www.ourcatholicfaith.org/stations/menu.html    You can go through each station with a click of the mouse.

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Who’s Your Authority?

This is a deep question to ask yourself and others.  No matter what your religion, ask yourself “Who’s the authority in my/your church?”  You might say, the pastor, the Synod, the Bible, or a leader who started your church.  If someone comes to your door and wants to offer you literature or talk to you about your religion, ask them the question of authority.

If the answer is the Bible, then lets look at the history of the Bible.  The Bible was put together in the year 382 at the Council of Rome, in the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church is still the authority of interpreting Scripture.  There is nothing in the Bible that states that the Bible is the only authority and source of truth.  The Catholic Bible is the New American Bible.  Other translations of the Bible such as the New World Translation or the King James Version have had books and parts of Scripture removed or changed to fit their doctrines.  The King James Version has had seven books removed.  Most people think that the Catholics have added books but this is not true.

If the answer is a pastor, Synod, or leader of your church, then this can create a pitfall of individual interpretation of the Scriptures.  If we all interpret the Scriptures on our own, then we can end up with several different meanings. These people are well-meaning but how can you be certain that you have the right interpretation? I found an exercise in the book, Where Is That in the Bible? by Patrick Madrid. See below:

If someone wrote the words:  “I never said you stole money.”  Sounds like it would be simple to understand, right?  I’ll write all possible interpretations with different emphasis and see what you think.

  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning someone else said that you stole money.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought it but didn’t say it.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he said that someone else did.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought you lost it.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought you stole something else but not his money.

See how just a little emphasis on a different word can cause a different interpretation of the small simple sentence.  Patrick Madrid asks, “Which would you say is more likely to be open to misinterpretations, this six-word sentence or the Bible?”  You can go to 4 different churches on the same street, on the same Sunday and get four different interpretations and sermons on the same Scripture reading.

If your authority is the Catholic Church, then you are following the Bible which says, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”  Luke 10:16   “I am writing you about these matters, although I hope to visit you soon. But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.”                  1 Timothy 3:14-15   The Catholic Church was given the authority through Jesus when he said, ” I will give you (Peter) the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 16:19

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St. Peter with Keys to the Kingdom

 

 

The Protestant churches reject the authority of the Catholic Church but yet declare that the Bible, that the Catholic Church put together 1500-2000 years before their existence, is their sole source of Scripture and authority.  The true authority is the Catholic Church, including the magisterium (Apostolic line of Popes, Bishops, Priests) and the Catholic Bible.  In rejecting this authority, a person can easily be led to error in their faith because of individual interpretation.  When you read the Bible with the understanding of the Church, you see faith in a different light and it makes much more sense.  There is a universal understanding of Scripture and Tradition instead of scattered meanings.

So when you ask the question, “Who’s your authority?”, be sure you get the answer of the only church Jesus gave authority to…the Catholic Church.  If not, then it falls flat.

 

Photo credit: The Vatican

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Why do Catholics go to Reconciliation/Confession?

One of the seven sacraments is called Reconciliation or Confession.  Catholics have a gift that can be found no where else, going to Confession.  In Confession, we go in to the Confessional and receive great blessings and graces from God in this sacrament.  These graces help us to perfect our virtues and to detach ourselves from sin.  The priest sits in Persona Christi, or in the person of Christ.  This means that the priest acts as Christ on earth.  This doesn’t mean he’s God, he’s doing what Jesus would do and he’s also acting on the authority of Jesus.  Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins.  ” I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19  This authority is only given through the Catholic Church passed down through Jesus.  Contrary to beliefs in other churches, this is not a valid authority in other denominations.

Can’t I just go directly to God for forgiveness?  You can for smaller sins, if your life is in danger, or you can ask for forgiveness directly from God but if you go to Confession, you will receive so much more.  You will receive large amounts of grace to resist sin and you will also be affirmed hearing the priest say the words of absolution.  God and Jesus meant for all to go to Reconciliation and to benefit from the sacrament by putting it into place through the apostles.

When we go into the Confessional, we can either sit facing the priest or we can go behind a screen in anonymity.  We make the sign of the cross and say, “Bless me father for I have sinned.  It’s been ( how many months or years) since my last confession and these are my sins.  (State your sins here and their severity or frequency)  For these sins and the sins I can’t remember, I am sorry for.”  At this point, the priest counsels the person on the sins and gives them penance, then absolves them of their sins.  The words of absolution are very comforting to hear and you have a sense of relief that your sins are gone.  You don’t get that when you confess to a minister of a different church.

The Seal of the Confessional is the absolute vow that the priest will not reveal what is discussed in the confessional.  Even if a person confesses they committed a grave sin, that sin cannot be revealed to anyone else.  The priest can’t even reveal anything if they are subpoenaed to court.

When we sin, we separate ourselves from God.  When we go to Reconciliation, we “Reconcile” with God again because we repent and amend our lives, detaching ourselves from sin.

Penance is given by the priest to maybe help us with understanding a teaching or some prayers.  Penance is meant to “make up” or in reparation to God for what we have harmed with our sins.

Reconciliation/Confession is a wonderful gift from God to people who want to rid themselves of the shame, guilt and burden of sin.  You can walk out of the Confessional feeling refreshed, lighter, relieved and knowing the true gift of God’s mercy when we really don’t deserve it.

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Photo credit: Pinterest

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Why Can’t a Non-Catholic take Communion in the Catholic Church?

Our priest was approached by a woman who challenged him with this question.  “Why can’t a non-Catholic take communion in the Catholic Church?  And why can’t a Catholic take communion in a Lutheran or protestant church?”  The priest said, “Let me ask you this; what do you do with the leftovers of communion?”  She said, “Well, we put it (the wafers) back into the little zip baggie and put it back into the cupboard, or we take the homemade bread home and eat it with lunch.”  The priest said, “We as Catholics would gasp at that. We put what hosts are left from Communion in a Tabernacle because we believe it IS the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.”  She said to him, “But we believe that Jesus is with the bread too. Aren’t they the same?”  He said, “We don’t believe it’s a symbol or that Jesus is under the bread, we believe that the bread has turned into Jesus and is no longer bread anymore.”  He also said that if a non-Catholic is not in union with the beliefs of the Catholic Church, then they should not partake of the comm-union of the Catholic Church.  The same is true with a Catholic taking communion in a protestant church.  A Catholic doesn’t believe the same as a protestant and is not in union with that church so they should not partake in their communion.  In leaving, the woman said to him, I guess I never thought of it that way.

I spoke with another priest who told me that some protestants had visited his Cathedral and had a church service in their rooms while they stayed.  After they had left, the priests had found their “blessed bread” in the garbage.  You would never find that in the Catholic Church because we don’t throw away Jesus, we adore and honor Him. (see below photos)

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Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.  A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.   1 Corinthians 11:27-29

This would not be true if it was just a symbol or if Jesus was with the bread.  This is only true if the Eucharist/Holy Communion actually IS the Body of Jesus and not bread anymore.  A miracle occurs each time we are at Mass; the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  This is why we call the Eucharist, The Blessed Sacrament.

So to tell someone who is non-Catholic that they can’t receive communion in the Catholic Church is not being snobbish, it’s to help them understand that Jesus truly is present in the Eucharist and you need to understand that and be in union with the Catholic Church to receive.  We certainly don’t want someone to drink and eat Judgment upon themselves.5409ba69d44ed13c9ebf8c5b565a41f7

 

Photo credits: Pinterest, Catholic Answers Forums

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Five Reasons the True Church is Catholic

The picture below describes very well the five reasons that the Catholic Church is the true Church that Jesus founded.  No other church, except the Catholic Church, can claim these truths.  There is a comparison with other churches below the picture.

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All other churches:

  1. All other churches are founded by men.  Some as early as the 1500’s, and some as recent as the last 10 years.  If someone doesn’t like one church, they church hop or they start another church.  Many have splintered off from each other and changed doctrine.
  2. Other churches may have attempted to translate the Bible but they also took out seven (7) books of the Bible and removed and changed other wording to suit their teachings.  The Catholic Church put the Bible together back in the 300-400’s AD.  So the other churches holding belief that the Bible is the only word of God and that the Catholic Church is not Biblical, the Catholic Church put the Bible together and there wouldn’t be a Bible if it wasn’t for the Catholic Church.
  3. The other churches typically have two (2) sacraments, while the Catholic Church has all seven (7) that Jesus instituted. (Baptism, Holy Communion/Eucharist, Reconciliation/Confession, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick.)
  4. Other churches can only trace their authority back to their founder, men, who started their churches only as far back as the 1500’s.  Authority in the other churches is based on individual interpretation not on the authority that Jesus put into place, the Pope and Magistrate.
  5. Other churches change their doctrine to fit, not what Jesus taught, but what the parishioners want or what their church wants to fit with “the times”.  The Catholic Church doesn’t have this moving target in their doctrine, they stay solid with Jesus’ teachings.  The teachings of the Catholic Church is the same “universal” around the world and the doctrine will not change because it is what Jesus taught regardless of how much pressure society puts on it just because they want their way. We need to follow Jesus’ teachings, not expect Jesus to follow us.

These are the truths that only the Catholic Church can claim.  This is all historic and you can research the history in the Early Fathers of the Church.  They all point to the Catholic Church.  The Church is 2000 years old and comes directly from Jesus and the only church that can say that truthfully.

Defending the Catholic Faith Video Website   Check out their videos at this website.