Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Candy versus the Vatican

In case we are having non-Catholic visitors because of Candy's latest post, I thought I would address some of the points that she raised, and give some additional resources.

First issue, the salvation of Muslims:
Vatican says - "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims;

Candy's link takes you to the appropriate section of the Catechism, and that is worth reading. Another good read is the document Dominus Iesus.

Some relevant excerpts:
In fact, the truth of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord and only Saviour, who through the event of his incarnation, death and resurrection has brought the history of salvation to fulfilment, and which has in him its fullness and centre, must be firmly believed as a constant element of the Church's faith.

It must therefore be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith that the universal salvific will of the One and Triune God is offered and accomplished once for all in the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God.

For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit”;81 it has a relationship with the Church, which “according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God — which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church — comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”.

To summarize on that point, the Catholic Church teaches that salvation always comes through Jesus Christ, the one Mediator. If Muslims are saved, it will be because God somehow saved them through Jesus.

Next point: Vatican says - The Holy See Vatican says that the Catholic Church ("The Church") has the right to pass down traditions, and that these traditions hold as much water as the very Bible itself.

This is true. I have written about Sacred Tradition here.

Vatican says - That the Catholic Church canonizes saints.

I see no contradiction with the verses which Candy quotes, and in the Vatican position here. Candy mentioned in another article that the Catholic church creates saints. This is not true.

Canonization is an official recognition that a person is a saint. A saint is a Christian, who is in heaven. The Catholic Church teaches that we are all called to be saints, and also that those who are officially recognized (i.e., canonized) are only a small number of the many, many saints that have existed.

Vatican says - The Vatican repeatedly calls their pope "Holy Father."

Catholic Answers has a good rebuttal to this charge here.

Perhaps the most pointed New Testament reference to the theology of the spiritual fatherhood of priests is Paul’s statement, "I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:14–15).

Also, you can go to the Scripture Catholic website for many references to calling someone "father" in Scripture. A few excerpts:

Acts 7:2; 22:1,1 John 2:13 - elders of the Church are called "fathers." Therefore, we should ask the question, "Why don't Protestants call their pastors "father?"

1 Cor. 4:15 - Paul writes, "I became your father in Christ Jesus."

Philemon 10 - Paul says he has become the "father" of Onesimus.

Vatican says - "The members of the Rosary Sodality, therefore, do exceedingly well in weaving together, as in a crown, so many salutations and prayers to Mary."

I'm surprised that we haven't covered the communion of saints, and intercessory prayer yet. I'll save that for another post.

Vatican says - "Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself "in the middle," that is to say she acts as a mediatrix [mediator] not as an outsider, but in her position as mother."

The Catholic Catechism, paragraph #1544 states: Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men." The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek"; "holy, blameless, unstained," "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified," that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.

Considering Mary as mediatrix does not negate Jesus as the One Mediator. This is a difference in understanding what is meant by mediatrix. When Catholics refer to Mary as Mediatrix, we saying that God entered the world through her. Jesus was physically born by a woman, and that woman was Mary. Because she cooperated with God, by saying yes to him, Jesus was able to enter the world.

Does this mean our salvation depends on her? No. But because she cooperated with God, God worked through her (mediated), and so she has been known from the earliest time of Christianity as Theotokos, or God-Bearer.

Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong gives a great answer to this question on his website.

God says - But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. -Matthew 6:7

I covered vain repetition here.

Vatican says - [Catholics have a different set of 10 commandments than the ones God gave us in the Bible]

Elena talked about why protestants and Catholics differ on the 10 commandments here.

Vatican says - "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." - The Roman Catholic version of Genesis 3:15 Reference - The Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible

From the New American Bible, the official Catholic Bible of the American Conference of Bishops Genesis 3:15 "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel."

The footnote reads "the passage can be understood as the first promise of a Redeemer for fallen mankind. The woman's offspring then is primarily Jesus Christ.

For a discussion of the Douay-Rheims translation difference, see This Rock.

Now, see, the difference between the Vatican and God isn't so great as it first appears, is it?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.

Tracy said...

thank you Kelly

Elena said...

Great job!