Evangelical Christians working for years in Spain never met even one Catholic who was saved or knew how to be saved!
Papal Rome claims ex cathedra statements are part of the Word of God - but have no records of them!
We have proven that 'Protestants' have been the pioneers in Bible translation and have organized and supported the great world-encircling Bible societies because they believe that the Bible needs no other interpreter than the Holy Spirit and His guidance is the Christian's only true authoritative guide. Genuine Bible-believing Christians confidently claim and demonstrate that they truly represent and interpret Christianity as it is found in the most accurate Bible translations and hold that anyone who reads the Bible prayerfully (the best scholarship is useful, but not essential to the understanding of basic, Biblical truth!) will reach the conclusion that mainstream 'Protestantism' honestly interprets the teachings and confirms the practice of early Christianity.
Complaints that every 'Protestant' denomination has a different interpretation of the Bible, or the variety of denominations means there can be no unanimity of agreement between 'Protestant' Bible believers neglects to take into account obvious facts. The great majority of 'Protestant' Bible readers have no problem with agreement on the central teachings of the Bible and have no difficulty whatsoever discerning the main message. Within all branches of 'Protestant' Christianity the same basic understanding as to what the Bible teaches exists and believers accept the same creeds that assert such basic truths, such as:
God made man in His image, with freedom of choice, and that man chose to rebel against God, thus bringing sin into the world;
God, because of His everlasting love, became a man in the person of Jesus Christ and died a substitutionary death on our behalf, paying the penalty for sin;
Mankind can have their relationship restored with God through placing their faith in Jesus Christ.
The message of the Bible is clear for those who will read it and seek to find out its meaning. The problem comes when people bring their preconceived notions to the Bible and attempt to make the Word of God fit their preconceived ideas. This is not the fault of the Bible, but of the persons who try to force the Bible to support what they want to believe.
'Protestant' denominations are not formed because of division over the central teachings of Christianity, but differences result because of a variety of factors, including cultural, ethnic, and social. When closely compared with one another, the doctrinal differences in 'Protestantism' are rarely crucial but, ironically for the view from Papal Rome, the major problems exist because of the errors that some groups (Lutherans, Anglicans etc.) 'carried out of Papal Rome'!
Another irony is revealed by surveys - such as the one carried out in Spain fairly recently:
'In a recent survey of 2000 homes in Spain only two persons knew clearly what the gospel was, and they were Protestants. The other 1998 were Catholics who thought good works, church attendance, etc. would get them to heaven. In 15 years of evangelizing in Spain, missionary friends of the author have never met even one Catholic who was saved or knew how to be saved.'
Knowing that Catholics are lost causes genuine evangelical Christians to work day and night to bring them the gospel!
Jesus made the main issue crystal clear: 'He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him' (John 3:36, NASB). Unfortunately Papal Rome has fulfilled the Scriptural warnings regarding Jesus, for the popes teach an anti-christ 'gospel' of 'another Jesus' and 'another gospel' (2 Corinthians 11v4; Galatians 1v6-9).
You write: Another illogicality of protestantisms lies in an absence of a continuity of Apostolic Succession. The 16th century Protestant outbreak was never commissioned by the Apostles. Their self appointed 'ministers' cannot trace their lineage back to the time of the Apostles. The protestant rebels simply sent themselves upon whim and rebellion against Our Lord. They abandoned the exegetic patrimony of the Church; and shunned the unanimous consent of the Fathers.
TCE: We have already shredded this Papal Roman Catholic Church myth of 'Apostolic Succession' in previous replies - as well as above. Only the most 'ignorant and unstable' (2 Peter 3:16) would ever believe otherwise!
And 'unanimous consent of the Fathers'? We have already revealed enough evidence of the complete absence of such an idea. Further, it is embarrassing to find that even 'an infallible pope' made the disparity between inspired Scripture and the machinations of Papal Rome clear. In his book, 'On the Study of Sacred Scripture', Pope Leo XIII (1823-9) wrote that the 'Church Fathers' 'have sometimes expressed the ideas of their own times, and thus made statements which in these days have been abandoned as incorrect.' This is the same pope (quote from Dr. Marianus de Luca, S. J., Professor of Canon Law at the Georgian University in Rome in 1901) who gave this personal commendation:
'The Catholic Church has the right and duty to kill heretics because it is by fire and sword that heresy can be extirpated. Mass excommunication is derided by heretics. If they are imprisoned or exiled they corrupt others. The only recourse is to put them to death. Repentance cannot be allowed to save them, just as repentance is not allowed to save civil criminals; for the highest good of the church is the duty of the faith, and this cannot be preserved unless heretics are put to death.' (Institution of Public Ecclesiastical Law)
Perhaps some Papal Roman Catholic can supply us with New Testament support for this murderous Papal attitude?
You write: The cult of Protestantism is ever a prey of party disputes, dissensions, and rivalries. There are over 50,000+ heretical faiths in the protestant cult and each disagree with the other on the most fundamental points of doctrine. They cannot agree and keep dividing and subdividing by the year. Their only similarity appears to be their opposition to the Catholic Church. Today the divisions and subdivisions of protestantism are too well known to need comment. The concept of the One True Religion, One True God, and One True Faith are based on the philosophical law known as the Law of noncontradiction. Two propositions which contradict each other cannot both be true. This is one of the 3 laws of thought. Therefore, various pagan religions such as protestant cult traditions offering contradictory doctrines cannot be affirmed as true. They are all false. To deny this is to violate the Law of noncontradiction, because you falsely and basely believe that all cults in the protestant community believe in the same 'basic' doctrines, when they obviously don't, as is clearly evident in their divisions. It is the same as asserting oxymorons such as: 'I am a sodomite ('gay') Christian' or 'I am a Christian Devil worshiper.'
TCE: Again, you deliver another plethora of 'straw men', revealing the extent of your ignorance which is plainly comparable to that displayed by any other cult as you invent 'facts' and 'opinions' to suit any point you are trying to make. Your inability to recognise the clear truth of autonomous leadership of fellowships through elders (cf. bishops, pastors, overseers) and deacons, and the absence of every facet of extra-Biblical leadership utilised by Papal Rome, speaks clearly of the truth we detailed regarding 'tradition' and its over-ruling of any inconvenient Scriptural truth! Genuine Christian groups, whether they use the term 'Protestant' in any way in their denominational name or not, all hold to a solid, shared, statement of faith that reveals their unity in a clear and unequivocal manner that you are clearly ignorant about. On the other hand it is painfully easy to reveal the many age old and contemporary schisms in Papal Rome. Even Rome's great hero, Augustine of Hippo (ca. 343-430 AD) is infamous in Biblical circles for his attempts to make Christianity Platonic - i.e. attempting to treat plain things as representing abstract ideas, treating almost everything allegorically! Augustine Platonized the church philosophically (the reason Papists still naturally revert to pagan philosophy to try and make a point!) while Constantine bequeathed imperial titles and properties on the Bishop in Rome so that what had once been Christianity was transformed into Christendom, and the seminal origins of what would become Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy had been planted by this hybrid paganizing of the church.
However, who was it brought such a severe reaction against this Platonization of Papal Rome and its supposedly infallible interpretations in a movement called Medieval Scholasticism? The main player was Thomas Aquinas. Rome would like to play down the Jansenist Schism and every other massive doctrinal problem that has been played out within the Roman Catholic Church over the centuries.
But long before Luther and the 'Reformation' there were theological factions and schisms within the Church of Rome - the Papal heresies we have already detailed on our website prove this irrefutably! The 'Reformation' was simply one more theological schism and forced a split much the same as occurred when the Eastern Orthodox church took a combination of cultural, political and theological differences to force an institutional split between Rome and Constantinople. The papacy has only ever ultimately cared about institutional schism for theological schism has plagued Papal Rome from the time of the Novationist Schism onwards. The attempted institutional split ('Donatist Schism') of the fourth century was opposed by Augustine, but later Rome simply resorted to murdering people within its own ranks to try to maintain an institutional unity after doctrinal unity disappeared. Spiritual unity? It never existed.
Among the victims who fell foul to Papal Rome was Priscillian, a bishop in Iberia, who was put on trial at the insistence of two bishops, Magnus and Rufus and, in 385, was executed with several of his adherents, while others were exiled. This was the first instance of the capital punishment of a heretic. 'St. Martin' and 'St. Ambrose' (men of considerably more Christian presence than most of Papal Rome's popes and leaders) protested, and refused communion with the bishops responsible for this sentence.
Priscillian probably taught a considerable number of doctrines that were Manichean and Gnostic in character (although hardly more than the many heresies that came from the pen of the 'giants' of Papal Rome - such as Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory) and his sect sprang up and flourished in Spain during the last third of the 4th century in the reigns of the emperors Gratian and Maximus. How could it be that this man is murdered by Rome when 'giant' Augustine was responsible for so many strange and un-Scriptural writings and Manichean sentiments recognised in his works which culminated in the worst idea that he and many his followers embraced, making God, the fountain of all justice and holiness, the author of not only all the good that is in the world (for in this there can be only one Christian opinion), but of all the evil likewise by which all the actions of angels and men are appointed and irrevocably established! Augustine somehow blundered into doctrines that have all the hallmarks of Satanic Islam, yet he is still revered by the ignorant! Augustine traced his growing disenchantment with the Manichean conceptions of God and evil in his seventh book, but his thoughts were still bound by his materialistic notions of reality and, in turn, he rejected astrology (!) and turned to the study of Neoplatonism before his study of the Bible began to outweigh his many other pursuits.
Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498 AD), a Dominican friar at the Convent of San Marco in Florence, Italy, became very popular among the people due to his attempts to reform church and state by boldly denouncing the abuses of the clergy and the evils of the ruling class. He was influential in setting up a new system of government after a French invasion but the resultant revival and his popularity were short-lived. When Pope Alexander VI (1431-1503 AD) ordered Savonarola to discontinue all preaching he disobeyed and, on May 13, 1497, was excommunicated from the church. The following year Savonarola was tried for sedition and heresy and tortured, hanged, and his body publicly burned. This happened during the Renaissance in an age when, through bribery and political intrigue, the corrupt Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia was elected Pope Alexander VI (1431-1503) in 1492. Thirty-seven years previously, his uncle Callistus III (1378-1458 - pope from 1455 to 1458!), named him archbishop of Valencia when he was only twenty-five years old and he ultimately used his papacy to serve his own purposes, being preoccupied with furthering the marriages and careers of his numerous illegitimate children by several mistresses. You cannot hide these facts from the world and the words of Savonarola - 'They will kill me if they please, but they will never, never tear the living Christ from my heart' - speak out against Papal Rome to this day!
Your attempted 'oxymorons', i.e.: 'I am a sodomite ('gay') Christian' or 'I am a Christian Devil worshiper' are the most obvious oxymorons in themselves, since the actions of your paedophile clergy and anti-Christ popes prove where the truth of the matter lies!
You write: The Church and her Popes, Cardinals, Primates, Patriarchs, Metropolitan Archbishops, Archbishops, Monsignors, Vicar Apostolics, Titular Bishops, Nuncios, Apostolic Delegates, Coadjutors, Auxiliary Bishops, Bishops, Ordinaries, Vicar Foranes, Vicar Generals, Curates, Urban and Rural Deans, Priests, the Major Orders, the Minor Orders, Monks, Hermits, Abbots, Prioresses, Mother Superiors, Brothers, Nuns, Third Order Religious, Secular and Parish Priests, and all her ecclesiastics are perfect and never make mistakes. Holiness is a mark of the true Religion, and this is only found in the Church and its Religion called Christianity. You present protestant sources for your anticlerical mythology; this is not evidence. It brings you grief to see the unconquerable holiness and unity of Christianity, and yet you realize and notice the cult of protestantism is dead in immoralities and is ever a prey to unending party disputes. There is a new denomination in the protestant cult being formed by the day. You seem to be a fan of popular fiction. This is not a surprise since protestants are pagans that are driven to and fro with myths. Anticlericalism and Antimonasticism has always taken the form of the popular fiction of the day. Your - quite frankly - disturbing fantasies reflects a mind that is marred in 'sins of the flesh' (impurity). You envy us, the Christians, and to find momentary comfort for your unhappiness and uneasiness you go about and look for the most ridiculous and sinful fantasies ever conceived by the mind of man. These, you readily embrace with an unparalleled fanaticism, worship, and idolatry.
TCE: Even your list of supposed 'offices' in Papal Roman Catholic Church betrays you as the product of a brain-washing cult - have you ever tried to seek these names in Scripture? They simply do not exist there! Papal Rome 'perfect and never make mistakes'? We have hardly scratched the surface of the errors of Papal Rome, but there are already enough irrefutable examples on our website and above to convince any open mind and you have also failed to disprove one fact supplied by us.
As we have already proven beyond refutation the absence of any kind of genuine 'Holiness' in Papal Rome proves our point time and time again and your claim that 'You present protestant sources for your anticlerical mythology; this is not evidence' ignores the colossal evidence from many Papal Roman Catholic historians - many of whom were cast out by the popes because of the embarrassing truths they revealed. Just stating 'you're wrong' or 'this is not evidence' - which is all you do - is no evidence at all!
You write: It seems that the up and coming self appointed leaders of the protestant community and daily springing denominations feel the need to establish their intellectual and 'theological' bona fides of protestant 'legitimacy' by engaging the greater part of their time in stirring their congregations in polemics towards what they perceive to be Catholicity; after throwing in a few straw men and many other misconceptions against the Catholic Faith, it would almost seem that the newly springing denominations exist and find this as their only purpose. Instead of arguing and criticizing their parent denomination from which they broke, they align their deadly emotions towards Catholicity. The last time I checked, only the Anglicans and Lutheran Protestants left directly from the Catholic Church. The others however, are just break-offs from their variant parent denominations (pun intended). Actually, it would seem that basically all the denominations have an inherent characteristic of unifying and attacking the Church through lies and half truths, rather than attacking their fellow protestant parent denomination's doctrines, because that's where their sympathies lie. Additionally, you risk being alienated by the protestant community if you decided to attack one of its cults, since you are a part of it and seek their camaraderie and community support.
TCE: If you had bothered to read even a fraction of our pages you would have recognised the utter nonsense you have chosen to expose to the internet. Try, for instance, looking at our article on the 'Word-Faith' heretics, 'charismaniacs' (who many in Papal Rome are linked with through the 'Charismatic Movement'), or such as David Ells. Unlike contemporary Papal Rome which, apart from its plethora of popes 'heretical' to even the Papal cult doctrines, has embarrassed itself by trying to embrace every world religion in one way or another (see our thorough exposé of John Paul II) and only attacks the Biblical Christianity we believe in (thus speaking volumes about its true inspiration) while even cosying up to Islam, we will expose any serious error without compunction. We are not shy in recognising the errors of Protestant 'giants' such as Calvin because, as already enunciated, 'Calvinism' contains both a theological and philosophical relationship to the errors of Augustine as a result of an influence that John Calvin failed to shake off. While Calvin and others tried to re-contextualize the Gospel in the light of what was then thought to be a 'Rational' world view, but was really an erroneous Greek world view since 'The Reformers' were influenced by 16th-century humanists who studied the Greek and Latin classics and the Bible as literature they, nonetheless, were far more accurate in their endeavours to rediscover doctrinal accuracy than Papal Rome has ever attempted - since they habitually killed any within their ranks who attempted 'reform' from within!
Your many other errors include:
'The last time I checked, only the Anglicans and Lutheran Protestants left directly from the Catholic Church' - while you make big statements about our supposed incompetence you make it clear that you are massively ignorant about a whole host of 'Protestant' history which we have touched on previously in this rebuttal;
'The others however, are just break-offs from their variant parent denominations (pun intended)' - again, you reveal your ignorance regarding the many genuine Christian groups which were no part of 'The Protestant Reformation' and existed centuries before Luther, et al, ever took a breath of air - as we have proved abundantly';
'Actually, it would seem that basically all the denominations have an inherent characteristic of unifying and attacking the Church through lies and half truths, rather than attacking their fellow protestant parent denomination's doctrines, because that's where their sympathies lie' - again, your colossal ignorance is revealed for the majority of contemporary 'Protestant' denominations have foolishly accepted Papal Rome as bona fide Christians as a result of the 'Great Apostasy' that the Word of God predicts (2 Thessalonians 2);
'Additionally, you risk being alienated by the protestant community if you decided to attack one of its cults, since you are a part of it and seek their camaraderie and community support' - again, had you read a fraction of our pages you would have recognised this view you state to be arrogant nonsense (as witnessed by the letters from apostate Christians attacking our exposure of this 'Great Apostasy' which has been witnessed by our members in churches in Cardiff - see our e-mails to 'Christians' and pages entitled 'Savage Wolves'!)
Despite this 'Great Apostasy' and the resultant errors, even the worst 'Protestant' churches are still delivering the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and are not cults following false, supposedly inerrant leaders, which is what the popes of Papal Rome have repeatedly proven themselves to be!
You write: The protestant community was founded by Martin Luther in Germany in 1520. Christ established here on earth only one church. There can only be one [true church] not many. The other communities are not churches because they do not have Apostolic Succession - the ability to trace their Bishops back to Christ's original Apostles.
TCE: There is far more to the origin of 'the protestant community' than the appearance of Luther - as we have proven abundantly above as well as thoroughly refuting Papal Rome's claim to 'Apostolic Succession'.
You write: They lack an internal constitutive principle of what Christianity truly is. Many sources indicate there is an excess of 50,000 protestant denominations alone. However, this figure rises daily in view of man's penchant for creating new faiths, new denominations. Do a Google search and you'll see the figures yourself. The disunity of these communities is no secret despite some seeing this lack of harmony as a celebration of (their) diversity, the true Church points out that this expressly contradicts what Christ repeatedly spoke of to the Church (regarding indefectibility and unity).
TCE: We have already proven that the important '... internal constitutive principle of what Christianity truly is' is defined succinctly at 2 Corinthians 11v4 and Galatians 1v6-9 - and Papal Rome is not even close to this truth! While Papal Rome has revealed its 'penchant for creating new' doctrines to accommodate Mariolatry and every other kind of error it has embraced, true Christians rely on the truth of Sola Scriptura, as we have amply proven. Again, you bluster on about 'disunity' in 'Protestantism' while ignoring the disagreements demonstrated clearly from the days of the 'Church Fathers' and continuously evidenced right up to the present day history of Papal Rome - none more than the pathetic attempts at creating a One World Religion by Paul John II and the paedophilic scandals that almost certainly forced the premature 'retirement' of the man who covered them up for over 50 years, Benedict XVI. If you were more than slightly familiar with the Word of God you would know that trying to force unity in a church that has embraced heresy is not recommended by the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 11:18ff.) and separation from obviously false 'brothers' had already been experienced by the Apostles (1 John 2:19):
'They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us'
'They' are not true believers but false teachers who deny the Son ('Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son' - 1 John 2:22). John was clearly referring to the men who had spread false doctrine to his readers and who opposed the Scriptural teaching of the apostles ('These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you' - 1 John 2:26).
False teachers 'went out' from 'us' (Greek: hemon, our company, us, we) even in the days of John and the leaders of the early church, including the twelve apostles. In the first chapter of this epistle, John makes the importance of believing true Gospel doctrine very clear (1 John 1:3):
'That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.'
Anyone teaching doctrine about Christ that is contrary to the doctrine that the apostles learnt from Him and from the Holy Spirit is a false teacher and does not have fellowship with God (1 John 2:23):
'Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.'
It is probable that these heretics were using their past association with the apostles as credentials to gain acceptance by the churches and John was writing to warn about these men. Are we to believe that Papal Rome would seek unity with men that opposed the Word of God? The evidence of history reveals that this is exactly what popes have done and continue to do by embracing apostate 'Protestants' and inviting them to re-join their un-Biblical anti-Christ doctrinal system!
You write: The protestants are deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of Salvation. Sadly, they are without the means of salvation and this is something the protestant must be aware of, if not implicitly, at least explicitly. The protestant community originates from a weak chain of hermeneutics, a thread they chose to explore as an avenue of interpretation that is right under man's desires - instead of the word of God. They ascribe to sola scriptura (scripture alone); this protestant hermeneutic is of quite recent historical development/times and its inauthenticity is easily demonstrable in consequence of its hermeneutic of discontinuity (of Apostolic exegetics and Tradition) and its devastating results; whose value derives from that fullness of opposition and luxurious pertinacity of private hermeneutics. The Church is one. The Church has unity in doctrine, worship, and government; Christians have One Lord. One Faith, One Baptism; unlike the protestants. There has never been any other society, 'religion', or government whose members are so closely united. The Church is truly 'one fold' and 'one shepherd', its unity standing out unequaled in all history. The Church is Universal; however, in the protestant cults their denominations are national or localized. The Church is Holy because of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit alive in its members. Its inexhaustible holiness is too well known to need recomment [sic] here.
TCE: We have amply refuted every point you strain to make and your pompous claim of 'fullness of opposition and luxurious pertinacity of private hermeneutics' is richly contrasted with the ludicrous claims for Papal Rome which has lurched from the heresies and contradictions of pope after pope (or even duplicate and triplicate popes hurling anathemas at each other)! By contrast the 'true church' is not a building, organization, or creed, but is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12; Colossians 1:18), with Christ as the Head of the Body (Ephesians 1:22-23), and individual members of His Body compose this church wherever believers are gathered and these are composed of men and women called out of the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13) by God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9; 1 Peter 2:9) 'unto salvation'. Only regenerate (Titus 3:5) men and women, both Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 3:6; 2:13-18; cf. Galatians 3:28, 29), compose the true church and it does not include unsaved individuals (Acts 2:41, 47). Jesus predicted the church in (Matthew 16:18), and Pentecost was the inception of the church (Acts 2:1-4ff) and 'the church' at its inception was composed of Jews but Gentiles later became:
'fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone, in Whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord in Whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).
The New Testament Scriptures also teach that 'the church' refers to a local assembly of believers (e.g. Colossians 4:15-16; cf. Acts 2:42, 14:23, Revelation 1:4) and is the bride of Christ which will live and reign with Him throughout all eternity (Ephesians 5:31-32; Revelation 19:7). This 'true church' is also entrusted with the mission of world evangelization during this age (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) while, by contrast, Papal Rome has concentrated on dominating people and forcing them into their organisation by fear and force.
You write: The Church has the gift of miracles. The Lord Jesus Christ promised His Church the gift of miracles, a sign of holiness. 'He who believes in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these he shall do' (John 14:12). The Church carries out numberless works of holiness. The Church shines in her children, Saints and Martyrs as a light to the world. The Church is Apostolic and derives Her Holy Orders, doctrines, and mission from the Apostles. It is 'built upon the foundation of the Apostles,' of which Christ is the corner-stone (Ephesians. 2:20). It holds intact the doctrine and traditions of the Apostles, to whom Christ gave authority to teach. Those denominations that broke away from the Church thus lost their connection from the Apostles. They were all began [sic] by individuals who could never have had any authority from either Christ or the Apostles. Most of them came some 1500 years too late. Sola Scriptura is a sham and a crutch for weak minded people who need strength in numbers; Sola Scriptura - bible alone - is the crutch upon which protestants have rallied upon since their founding over 400 year back; 'wrestling [sic] it to their destruction.'
TCE: You claim Papal Rome 'has the gift of miracles' but none of the claimed miracles, whether by Padre Pio or at infamous venues, such as Lourdes, have ever been subject to serious medical investigation while the famous failure to heal an afflicted man, by a fairly recent 'pope', has already been recorded. In short, Papal Rome has a similar record in 'miracles' to the many heretical 'Protestant' spinoffs that you mock and fails the same tests applied to them. And your repeated claims re. 'Apostolic Succession' - have already been refuted.
'Weak minded people who need strength in numbers'? How many (mainly nominal?) Papal Roman Catholics are there in the world - if you believe the figures, far more than any other Christian denomination can muster?! And if you're going to try and make a rare Papal Roman Catholic foray and quote from Scripture (2 Peter 3:16) - and from Peter of all the Apostles - the phrase is ''wresting [not 'wrestling'!] it to their destruction' - [Greek: στρεβλóω streblóō, streb-lo'-o - to wrench, i.e. (specially), to torture (by the rack), but only figuratively, to pervert, to wrest (2 Peter 3:16)]!
And Papal Rome still has the longest history for 'wresting' Scripture out of all groups claiming to be Christian!
In conclusion, here is a brief list of the questions you have failed to answer, and a summation of the facts proven beyond reasonable doubt:
Conclusion on Canon - The formation of the New Testament was not achieved by early 'popes' or 'Church Fathers'!
Investigating the process of recognizing and collecting the books for what we now call the New Testament started in the early days of the Christian church reveals:
Clement of Rome mentioned at least eight New Testament books (AD 95).
Ignatius of Antioch acknowledged about seven books (AD 115).
Polycarp, a disciple of John the Apostle, acknowledged 15 books (AD 108).
Irenaeus mentioned 21 books (AD 185).
Hippolytus recognized 22 books (AD 170-235).
Clearly, if Ignatius and Polycarp (whose era was in close proximity) could differ by a matter of 8 books we should be careful about believing that these 'Fathers' could be considered the only authorities on decisions concerning 'Canon'. Irenaeus and Hippolytus lived in an era of close proximity and enjoyed closer agreement on the books in the 'Canon' - so they clearly did not rely on any kind of 'Apostolic Succession' to come to a fuller list when their predecessors failed to achieve such a complete list!
The Christian church did not create the canon, but received the canon which God created.
The Old Testament canon came from the hands of Christ and his apostles in the sense that the first Christians knew that the Jewish Scriptures were from God and were fulfilled by Jesus' coming.
The New Testament canon came from the Holy Spirit.
Only through the Holy Spirit were Jesus' apostles enabled to speak about and write down the truth about Jesus.
Individual Christians have always been capable of error, as the 'Church Fathers' prove as repeatedly as Peter did even when in Christ's presence prior to the crucifixion, and therefore there is no such thing as 'papal infallibility', 'infallibility of any single Christian in history past or present', or 'Apostolic Succession' - but the Holy Spirit leads the church into a 'combined truth' that is proven by comparison with the revealed and preserved Word of God found in the proven Canon of 27 New Testament books and 39 Old Testament books (both excluding the Apocrypha and any pseudepigraphical books which fail the clear tests of historical, geographical, logical, and theological consistency) within the following tests:
A. The Tests for Canonicity
1. The test of authority. In relation to Old Testament books, this meant having the authority of a law-giver or a prophet or a leader in Israel behind them. In connection with New Testament books, this meant having the authority of an apostle behind the books that were accepted into the canon. This meant that the book either had to be written by an apostle or backed by one so that either way there was apostolic authority behind the book. For example, Peter was considered to be the apostle who stood behind the writings of Mark, and Paul the apostle behind the writings of Luke. The attempts to 'use' the name of a figure of authority (as discussed earlier) in order to smuggle an Apocryphal or pseudepigraphical work into the canon failed because they failed one or more of these tests.
2. The test of uniqueness yet consistency. To be taken into the canon a book had to show internal evidence of its uniqueness as an evidence of its inspiration, yet be consistent with the revelations given by God.
3. The test of acceptance by the churches. As the books circulated they had to gain acceptance by the churches. The overall facts reveal that there was not one book that was doubted by any large number of churches that was eventually accepted into the canon.
B. The Process of Acknowledgment of the New Testament Canon
The books were inspired when they were written and thus canonical and the church only attested to what was inherently true, so we have:
1. The witness of the apostolic period. The writers witnessed that their own writings were the Word of God (Colossians. 4:16; 1 Thessalonians. 4:15). They also acknowledged that the writings of other New Testament books were Scripture. 'Scripture' was a designation in Judaism for canonical books, so it designates those writings as canonical when it is used in the New Testament of other New Testament writings and it is so used in two significant places:
a. Some of the New Testament books were instantly regarded as being part of the Scriptures, e.g.
Paul considered Luke's writings to be as authoritative as the Old Testament as we see in 1 Timothy 5:18 where a quotation from Deuteronomy 25:4 is linked with one from Luke 10:7, and both are called Scripture. While the sentiment of Luke 10:7 is found in the Old Testament the form of quotation is found only in the Gospels.
b. 2 Peter 3:16 where Peter referred to the writings of Paul as Scripture. This is a significant attestation because of the relatively short span of time that had elapsed between the time Paul wrote some of his letters and the time when Peter acknowledged them as Scripture.
Some of the books of the New Testament were clearly being circulated among the churches (Colossians. 4:1 6; 1 Thessalonians. 5:27).
2. The witness of the period AD 70-170. During this period all the New Testament books were cited in other writings, and the 'Church Fathers' recognized as canonical all twenty-seven books. However, each Father does not include all twenty-seven. In addition, Marcion, a heretic (140), included in his canon only Luke and ten of Paul's epistles, which shows, at least, that a collection was being made this early of Paul's writings.
3. The witness of the period AD 170-350. Three important pieces of evidence come from this period:
First, the Muratorian canon (170-190 AD) omitted Hebrews, James, and 1 and 2 Peter. However, there is a break in the manuscript, so we cannot be certain that these books were not included. This canon also rejects some other books like the Shepherd of Hermas, which did not become part of the canon. Note that this canon contains the oldest existing list of the books of the New Testament and was only discovered (re-discovered!?) by L. A. Muratori (1672-1750) in the Ambrosian Library of Milan and published by him in that city in 1740. Modern scholars agree that the original from which this copy was made was composed in the estimated date given (170-190 AD) in, or near, Rome. The document is written in Latin and consists of eighty-five lines but it is a fragment, with the beginning and possibly the end, broken off. It does not just list most of the New Testament books in our canon while commenting on others, but also mentions seven heretics by name as well as rejecting their writings. The Muratorian Canon mentions a letter to the Laodiceans 'forged in Paul's name for the sect of Marcion.'
A Latin 'Epistle to the Laodiceans' is found in many manuscripts, the oldest being the Codex Fuldensis, written for Victor of Capua in the 6th century. Its existence even earlier is proved by the warnings of the Fathers, especially Jerome (vir. ill. 5), but despite these warnings it was widely disseminated in the West. This was due at least in part to the influence of Gregory the Great, who, although he limited the canonical epistles to fourteen, states nevertheless that Paul wrote fifteen, and was thus understood to affirm its authenticity. That it was read in the East in the 8th century is shown by the warning issued by the Second Council of Nicaea (AD 787). The Marcionite origin of this document remains uncertain because it contains nothing specifically Marcionite or calculated to promote the interests of the sect. Nor can one be sure of its identity with the letter mentioned in the Muratorian Canon. Its date can therefore be placed only approximately, between the 2nd and 4th centuries. In ancient manuscripts the letter is extant only in Latin, although it was to be translated into western vernaculars, notably English which, with the evidence of the Greek Fathers suggest that a Greek version once existed. The letter is in fact no more than a patchwork of Pauline phrases, beginning with the opening words of Galatians but heavily dependent on Philippians. Enslin (IDB III. 72) aptly quotes the comment of Erasmus, that there is 'no argument which will more effectively convince that this is not by Paul than the epistle itself.' The forgery was quite obviously occasioned by the desire to make good a gap in the Pauline Corpus by supplying the letter mentioned in Colossians 4:16! 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus have been known as the pastoral epistles since the early 18th century and the Muratorian Canon reveals the extent to which it represents the church of Rome by stating that they were written 'from personal feeling and affection' (no mention of 'inspiration'!) and are 'still hallowed in the respect of the Catholic Church, for the arrangement of ecclesiastical discipline.' So, although valued for a wider purpose than for the personal use of the addressees, they were preserved among the Pauline epistles but not out of any apparent reverence for their inspiration. It makes one wonder why some people cannot see the evidence before their eyes when modern experts in ancient Bible languages, who have a far greater range of manuscripts and expertise than even Jerome, recognise the degree of forgery and attempted deception that Rome participated in and fell for in turn!
Second, The Old Syriac Version (end of second century) lacked 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation, but no extra books were added to bring the total to twenty-seven.
Third, the Old Latin Version (200) lacked 2 Peter, James, and Hebrews, but added no extra books so the unqualified candidates for books to be included in the canon were rejected during this period and most of the New Testament books were received and only a few were debated.
4. The Council of Laodicea (AD 363) stated that only the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament were to be read in the churches.
The Council of Hippo (AD 393) affirmed that the twenty-seven books in our present day New Testament alone were authoritative.
The Council of Carthage (AD 397) also affirmed that the limits of the New Testament canon were all twenty-seven books already agreed on.
A final note on the disparaging view taken by many Papal Roman Catholics on Luther's opinion of the Book of James - which he is said to have rejected as being 'non-canonical'. Luther actually wrote a list, in his preface to the New Testament, ascribing different degrees of particular doctrinal value to several books of the New Testament:
'St. John's Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul's Epistles, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and St. Peter's Epistle - these are the books which show to thee Christ, and teach everything that is necessary and blessed for thee to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book of doctrine. Therefore, St. James' Epistle is a perfect straw-epistle compared with them, for it has in it nothing of an evangelic kind' (our emphasis in blue). Luther was clearly giving his opinion in a comparison of doctrinal value, not canonical validity. And, of course, unlike the popes, Luther is not revered or looked up to in any way as an infallible guide or as the originator of any Bible truth. It is also notable that James was omitted from some of the early versions and collections of sacred books and the earliest known collection, the Muratorian fragment of the second century, did not include Hebrews, James, and the epistles of Peter and some still doubted it so that, in some regions (the churches of Rome and Carthage) it was not until the fourth and fifth centuries that James appears to be consistently included in the canon while it was in use from an early date by the churches of Jerusalem and Alexandria and is included in the collections of scriptural books in Asia Minor. Perhaps the reason for their doubt is that it was written at Jerusalem and addressed to the Jews of the Eastern dispersion and those of the West were not so ready to accept it as Scripture.
Finally, note that John Wycliffe (died 1384 AD) put the Apocrypha together at the end of the Old Testament and the same course was taken by Luther (1546 AD) in his great German translation and by Miles Coverdale (died 1568 AD) in his English translation, so it is difficult to see how any honest Papal Roman Catholic can criticize these men when the 'Early Fathers' they revere without question hardly found total agreement over anything!
Conclusion over other points:
Obviously, if Peter was the first pope and his successors were equally infallible, there would never, ever, have been any dispute over the canon!
As we have proven, while even the uninspired Catholic Encyclopedia recognises many of the errors in apocryphal works while failing to recognise the flaws in the Apocrypha approved by comparatively recent popes, how come Papal Rome in the days of Jerome had no one who could consistently pass judgement, warn and prevent 'many' from reading and being deceived by such obvious forgeries - a situation that has clearly existed for all of Rome's history?
In 447 AD Pope Leo the Great wrote pointedly against the pseudo-apostolic writings, 'which contained the germ of so many errors ... they should not only be forbidden but completely suppressed and burned' (Epist. xv, 15).
The Apocrypha ('pseudo-epigraphic writings') contain subject-matter mainly dealing with unfulfilled prophecy and often couched in language and figures borrowed from, among others, the book of Daniel. They were obviously designed to imitate certain portions of prophecy but clothed in mystic emblematic language of a Greek and Hebrew bent, depending on whether the writers were Egyptian (Hellenistic) or Palestinian Jews. Considerable difficulty exists as to the precise date of some of these writings, whether previous or subsequent to the time of Christ, and their proper study and interpretation shows the essential difference between the teaching of the men of that age and that of the writers of the genuine 'Testaments'. Careful and impartial examination of these books affords only fresh testimony to the real Scriptural truths which are most certainly, and on the best and surest grounds, believed among genuine Christians. In the same way in which extravagant Rabbinical views were propounded quite independently of Scripture, every traditional ordinance, legend and saying is an attempt to foist a deceptive teaching upon the text of the Old or New Testament - and lead people away from the true worship of God 'in Spirit and in Truth' (John 4:23-24).
After the return from Babylon, and then with the institution and spread of synagogues, the Apocrypha and Rabbinical writings afford painful evidence of how soon deceiving men cause true worship and prayer to degenerate into a mere form, and how false sacraments develop into works of self-righteousness by which merit might be obtained. The Pharisees of the New Testament, with their ostentatious displays of devotion, and the hypocrisy of their endless prayers, full of needless repetitions and odious self-assertion, were merely precursors to another even more extravagant form of Babylonian whoring with the careful defining of every attitude and gesture in prayer, fixing of rigid formulas, and attempts to trace them back to one of the patriarchs, or a 'saint'. Whether through the Rabbinical religion or the posturing of Papal Rome the aim is to cause the worshipper to take their eyes off Jesus and onto a substitute 'Teacher' or a supposed 'co-Redemptrix' and endless wasted hours reading the commentaries, bulls, and ex cathedra statements of uninspired men, or pointless repetitious prayers to a powerless, dead, servant of God, are substituted for true discipleship.
Polycarp (AD 70-155) was bishop of Smyrna and a godly man who had known the apostle John personally. When he was urged by the Roman proconsul to renounce Christ, Polycarp said: 'Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?' 'I have respect for your age,' said the official. 'Simply say, 'Away with the atheists!' and be set free.' The aged Polycarp pointed to the pagan crowd and said, 'Away with the atheists!' He was burned at the stake and gave joyful testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ. Since the Popes have long claimed to have dominion over kings and presidents and the Papal Roman Catholic Church was supposedly formed by the Apostle Peter (and 'Apostolic Succession'!), how come the Pope of Rome could not save Polycarp?
Jerome, et al, took hundreds of years to procrastinate over the canon but Luther, who Papal Rome criticizes for books he wrestled with briefly, came to a conclusion and produced a Bible that is 100% canonical in a fraction of the time!
Pope Innocent X (1574-1655) condemned Jansenism in 1653 - but how did it take a 'pope' so long (about 40 years) to recognise a heresy that was nothing but a revival of Augustinianism in the bosom of the Roman Catholic church?
We must question how Augustine could be considered any sort of authority in determining the full nature of Jerome's Vulgate when we realise that he did not have the linguistic ability to judge the translations that had been made from Hebrew, or the comparative nature of the Greek Septuagint, yet he tried to persuade Jerome to utilise the latter!
It is clear, from a study of Origen, Jerome, Augustine, et al, that none of the 'Church Fathers' were anywhere near fully Biblical in their reasoning or treatment of doctrine (and therefore behaviour) and therefore cannot be commended as 'protectors' of the Biblical Canon.
It is crystal clear that the 'Church Fathers' were in no way in full agreement over these extremely important points but, by comparison, the record of the Jews (as shown by genuine historians you have tried, unsuccessfully, to besmirch) right up to Jamnia reveals an unending zeal for protecting the Word of God from error; as a result of this failure to even follow the Jews at Jamnia, and stick to a sound tradition, the church you believe in is shown to be incapable of even determining what constitutes the Word of God and what is false. The record shows clearly that this has been true right from the days of the 'Church Fathers', when 'Papal infallibility' and 'Apostolic Succession' were supposed to prevent this happening - and it is true to this present day.
So, why did it take centuries for Papal Rome to arrive at a 'complete Canon' when they supposedly had 'Papal infallibility' and 'Apostolic Succession' to lead to a 'certain Canon'?
Unfortunately for the view of Papal Rome the clear teaching of Scripture is revealed in John16v7-15 - 'However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into ALL TRUTH; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; & He will tell you things to come' - there is no mention of it taking centuries for 'the faithful' to realise a fuller gospel truth that would only come to later believers who 'eventually' accepted the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is no surprise to know that Papal Roman Catholics rely on men to tell them what to believe rather than on the Holy Spirit!
Typical examples, from the thousands that could be supplied from the history of the Papacy are these quotations from the Vatican II Council of the 1960s:
'Rightly, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience. For as St. Irenaeus says, she being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert with him in their preaching ... death through Eve, life through Mary ... This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death' (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chap. 8, II, 56, p380-381).
'Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of ADVOCATE, HELPER, BENEFACTRESS, and MEDIATRIX' (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chap. 8, II, 62, p382-383).
And, from his general audience of May 7, 1997, we have the words of Pope John Paul II who declared that 'Mary is the path that leads to Christ' - he concluded by urging all Christians to acknowledge Mary's 'providential role in the path of salvation' (Vatican Information Service, May 7, 1997).
The colossal 'knight jump exegesis' that is required to force this view of Mary into the 'doctrinal view' that Papal Rome promulgates is easily refuted and monumentally illustrates the problems that you labour under in your attempts to portray the Papacy as anything less than an embarrassing wart on the face of Christian history.
The deification of Mary, by Papal Rome, that took her from being a humble maid servant of the Lord and transformed her into a goddess to be worshipped is shown clearly by another historical glitch that they would like us to forget. Papal Rome claimed Mary was buried in a church outside Jerusalem for many centuries before the late 19th century when, in another doctrinal 'flip-flop', they decided to padlock the church doors and proclaim that Mary had actually ascended to Heaven like Jesus!
The Eucharist - as possible as the Incarnation?
Having shown that Papal Rome failed to carefully and accurately define and preserve the true 'Canon of the Bible', even through supposedly infallible Papal Councils (e.g. Trent), we must not just demand that you produce such an infallible canon, but also that you produce additional 'canons' of the other forms you accept besides the Scriptures. Tradition and the teachings of the Roman Magisterium, including the 'infallible' teachings of her popes are summarized as Sola Verbum Dei ('The Word of God Alone') which is, laughably, a supposedly infallible alternative to Sola Scriptura. It is therefore essential for Papal Roman Catholics to provide this full canon of the Word of God, including an 'infallible canon' of ex cathedra papal statements. Do you even know how many times the pope has taught ex cathedra ('from the chair' of Peter)? Please supply us with details of all the ex cathedra papal statements there have been. If you have even the slightest clue of the problem this 'canon of ex cathedra papal statements' will prove to be to you then you will know that you will be forced to go outside Papal Rome's definition of 'The Word of God' to even attempt the task!
Papal Roman Catholic apologists have maintained differing numbers of 'infallible' papal statements when challenged. The false doctrines of the 'Immaculate Conception' and the 'Bodily Assumption of Mary' were taught 'infallibly' by Popes Pius IX and Pius XII in 1854 and 1950, respectively, and supposedly divinely revealed and therefore part of revelation to be believed by the faithful. But are these two the only infallible ex cathedra papal statements ever made - it depends who is answering the question! One Papal apologist Scott Hahn says the 1854 and 1950 ex cathedra statements are the only two ever been made by a pope ('A Biblical Understanding of Mary,' Tape 3 of 4, side 1). In contrast, apologist Timothy Staples states that there are at least four, and possibly very many more such statements, and he berates those who claim that popes have only spoken infallibly on two occasions, mentioning the two ex cathedra statements referred to by Hahn refers and then adding at least two more:
'We have infallible statements from popes all the way back. Pope Boniface VIII made an infallible statement in the 13th century concerning papal authority or papal primacy. In the year 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, Pope Leo I made an infallible declaration that was recognized as such by council Fathers concerning the hypostatic union of Christ.' ('All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed,' Tape 2 of 6, side 1)
First, Staples refers to pope Boniface VIII's statement Unam Sanctam (1302) and then to St. Leo's letter to Flavian which was examined and approved by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. Leo's letter was actually written in 449 AD, so the claim that Leo 'made an infallible declaration' in 451 AD omits the fact that the council affirmed it in that year - and why would a council need to affirm that which is supposedly 'infallible'?
As can easily be ascertained, the internet has an abundance of enquiries concerning the lack of a formal list from the Vatican on ex cathedra statements by popes and arguments abound over the possibility of seven or more existing. But, if they do exist, where are they recorded? The theoretical importance of omitting the supposed Word of God from the canon means it is simply unacceptable to try and express indifference over the matter, as many attempt. Since you keep harping on about the number of 'Protestant' you imagine are confused and constantly breaking away from main denominations to form another 'Protestant' group, we will now look at the many samples of the frustration and contradiction regularly revealed by Papal Roman Catholics worldwide in response to this question:
'How does the average Catholic know which Papal statements are 'ex cathedra'?'
The following are the main kind of responses (found at the respective given addresses below):
First, from http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=89426
'It's kind of funny to me that we claim infallibility (which I believe) but really can't go directly to those infallible statements, and teach why these statements were made'.
'The Church hasn't put out an official list of infallible statements yet because the Church doesn't know which statements should be on that list. As soon as the Holy Spirit gives us that knowledge, I'm sure the official list will be promulgated'. ... Until then, the Church has issued the following canon law:
Quote: Canon 749 §3 No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless this is manifestly demonstrated.
Thus, the only papal statements which the faithful are bound to treat as ex cathedra are Ineffabilis Deus and Munificentissimus Deus.
'As to theologians coming up with a list; a lot of theologians have accepted Limbo as the answer to where babies who have not been baptized before death go; and the Church has never taken an official position on it; it may now be doing so in the reverse (that Limbo is no longer accepted as a theological construct). ... so I would not get too tangled up in how many theologians follow which list'.
'Here are the other five to get to the list of seven:
Pope Leo I's 'Tome to Flavian'
Pope Agatho's decision on the two wills in Christ
Pope Benedict XII's Benedictus Deus
Pope Innocent X's Cum Occasione
Pope Pius VI's Auctorem Fidei
'The only two ex cathedra pronouncements in 2,000 years have been the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception (1854) and the Assumption (1950).'
ref. Catholicism for Dummies; Revelation. John Trigilio Jr., PhD, ThD, Revelation. Kenneth Brighenti, PhD; Wiley Publishing Inc.; Indianapolis, Indiana; 2003
'So if the only statements made ex cathedra are the assumption and immaculate conception what are we to call the other statements that the theologians ... are listing? They are typically referred to as the authentic Magisterium of the Church. 'Authentic' sounds better than 'fallible' or 'non-infallible''.
'Are they doctrine or tradition? Can they change? They are doctrine. They can only change if they are wrong, which isn't very likely'.
' ... Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the actual real presence of Christ flesh and blood. We are also taught that this can only be done by a Catholic Priest or Orthodox Priest, even though the Anglican church teaches this truth, they are not actually participating in the true Eucharist because their priesthood is not in line with the Church, likewise for the Lutherans. So if the Church through the Pope can be infallible why is this statement of faith not an infallible statement?'
[TCE: Regarding the 'Eucharist', we wrote on this page:
Hans Küng and the flawed views shared by Jerome, Augustine, Benedict - et al!
''Nothing is impossible for God' (Luke 1:37), but He will not contradict Himself. If the Eucharist was really the ingestion of the 'literal' flesh and blood of Christ, then Christians would be cannibals! Cannibalism is a punishment in Scripture and the prophetic threat for Israel's disobedience (Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53, 57; Ezekiel 5:10). It was to befall Jerusalem both in Old Testament times (Lamentations 2:20; 4:10) and in New Testament times (cf. Josephus, War, VI, 201-13 [iii.4]). Many pagans use the Papal Roman Catholic belief in the Eucharist as an excuse to continue in cannibalism. Athenagoras (161-180 AD) was a Christian apologist of exceptional rhetorical ability and a contemporary of Justin and Tatian the Syrian whose 'Intercession on Behalf of the Christians,' was written to the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus to answer the false charges of cannibalism and incest.'
Can Papal Roman Catholics really accept the testimony of the 'Church Fathers' as valid regarding the unique Papal doctrines they appear to support while rejecting their writings when they opposed Rome's doctrines - as in the case of the 'Eucharist'? The Papal Roman Catholic Church cannot escape these contradictions!]
The Papal Roman Catholics on the website continued:
The only thing I can think of is this teaching is from Jesus Christ, and the Immaculate Conception was taught later through tradition and was not a concentrated focus in the biblical teachings of that day, perhaps because it was common knowledge or later through theologians gained support from the Church and the Pope' ... Keep in mind that there are three forms infallible statements can take: ex cathedra (literally 'from the chair; a definition given by the Pope); doctrine defined through a council and, if the Pope is not present at the council, ratified by him; and the third, which is the continual magisterial teaching of the church (such as the issue of abortion; not defined or declared by either a Pope or a council, but continually taught by the Church from the earliest times).
Or perhaps I should not say three forms, but three ways an infallible statement could be made.'
'There was much discussion as to whether or not John Paul 2's statement about the impossibility of ordaining women was ex cathedra; and although some have tried their mightiest to say it is (some taking the position that it is, and prove it is not, almost), the generally accepted answer to that is that it is simply a statement confirming a 2000 year held truth; that is, the statement is infallible, but not because of an ex cathedra statement, but because it has been a continually held truth since the beginning of the Church. That is the best answer I have ever gotten about infallibility. I found this reference from a Catholic site, Matthew 26:70-72; Mark 14:68-70; Luke 22:57; John 18:25-27 - Peter denied Christ three times, yet he was chosen to be the leader of the Church, and taught and wrote infallibly.
Here the Catholic site says that Peter taught and wrote infallibly, now prior to your answer I have had a hard time in this teaching because it seems that the Church has spoken ex cathedra only 9 times or less. Again thanks for your solid answer!'
These answers are from the following link:
'I thought doctrine could never change? For example the teaching on the trinity can never change yet it is not supported by an ex cathedra statement. What am I missing?'
'The teaching on the trinity comes from the early ecumenical councils, e.g., Constantinople I and Nicaea I. Dogma is infallible doctrine that cannot change. Doctrine by itself is a generic term. For example, you can talk about 'false doctrine' without being contradictory.'
'So if the only statements made ex cathedra are the assumption and immaculate conception what are we to call the other statements that the theologians ... refer[s] to ...? ... Are they doctrine or tradition? Can they change?'
' ... they are doctrinal statements; doctrine does not change (as in reverse, or go off on a tangent), but doctrine can be nuanced; that is, we can come to a fuller understanding of what the doctrine means. ... A prime example is the issue of 'outside the church there is no salvation'; the nuance is that salvation is through Christ, and how Christ achieves that is not necessarily limited to being baptized Catholic. ... because some of the best people in my extended family are Presbyterians. But how does this relate to confession before a priest? Can mortal sins be forgiven a Presbyterian way?'
'Very curious ... The Church doesn't answer every last detail of the questions that paragraph causes, but the Church holds that while it is much harder for one who does not have access to the Sacraments to gain Heaven, it is by no means impossible. Keep in mind that they are baptized, and the Church recognizes they are baptized; so they are members of the Catholic Church, but not sharing in full membership. All of which is not most artfully stated. Read the CCC.'
'The Church's understanding of a particular doctrine can deepen, become enhanced, clearer by the grace of God, as He chooses to reveal such wisdom to Her, and so future popes/councils can issue their 'new' insights with the faithful. While it appears to the unknowing the council is 'changing' doctrine it really is just explaining it in the new light it just received.
The infallibility part means the Church could never reverse itself on doctrine as all doctrine is based on Truth. Truth today can never be un-True tomorrow. That's why the Church does not have it within Her authority to ordain women and or support artificial birth control'.
[TCE: Other organisations that rely on false prophets, such as Islam, the Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses cults are also famous for such addled reasoning, especially regarding 'abrogations' or 'nuances' - which they call 'new revelation' or 'new light' - and for accepting such reverses and contradictions of earlier doctrine in this same manner!]
'Why is there not a formal list from the Vatican on ex cathedra statements by our former Popes? That would make life too easy, don't you think? I mean, if you just had a list of things to say 'I believe' to, and by saying so, you practically guaranteed yourself as much salvation as humanly possible, where would be the 'Mystery of Faith' and all that? A list just makes things too easy. People don't want to be told everything'.
[TCE: The contradictions are astonishing! 'As much salvation as humanly possible'? The ignorance regarding the clear Biblical doctrine of free and full salvation as a gift (Ephesians 2:8-10) contrasts sadly with this contributor suggesting that an unnecessarily extended stay in 'Purgatory', or even eternity in Hell through ignorant sinfulness, can ever be acceptable in anything but a Satanic religion]
[TCE: we expect Papal Roman Catholics to correct errors in the article found next!]
The contributor to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility writes:
'According to the teaching of the First Vatican Council and Catholic tradition, the conditions required for ex cathedra papal teaching are as follows:
'the Roman Pontiff' 'speaks ex cathedra' ('that is, when in the discharge of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, and by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority'....) 'he defines' 'that a doctrine concerning faith or morals' 'must be held by the whole Church' (Pastor Aeternus, chap. 4)
For a teaching by a pope or ecumenical council to be recognized as infallible, the teaching must be a decision of the supreme teaching authority of the Church (pope or College of Bishops); it must concern a doctrine of faith or morals; it must bind the universal Church; and it must be proposed as something to be held firmly and immutably. The terminology of a definitive decree will usually make clear that this last condition is fulfilled, as through a formula such as 'By the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by Our own authority, We declare, pronounce and define the doctrine ... to be revealed by God and as such to be firmly and immutably held by all the faithful', or through an accompanying anathema stating that anyone who deliberately dissents is outside the Catholic Church.
For example, in 1950, with Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII's infallible definition regarding the Assumption of Mary, there are attached these words:
Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which We have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.
In July 2005 Pope Benedict XVI stated during an impromptu address to priests in Aosta that: 'The Pope is not an oracle; he is infallible in very rare situations, as we know'. His predecessor Pope John XXIII once remarked: 'I am only infallible if I speak infallibly but I shall never do that, so I am not infallible'.
TCE: the reference  here to discredited 'theologian' Hans Küng is another reminder of the problems under discussion here for, as he puts it - regarding Pope 'Benedict's thinking: 'For me the first paradigm is the Judaeo-Christian one. He [Benedict!] has no serious theological knowledge of it. The second paradigm, the Hellenistic one, is what interests him. For him the Enlightenment is the Greek enlightenment, when the biblical message meets Greek philosophy.' As we have already repeatedly pointed out the link between the false interpretations of popes caused by mixing Greek philosophy with Biblical matters, we cannot be surprised by Küng's comment!
The Wikipedia article continues:
A doctrine proposed by a pope as his own opinion, not solemnly proclaimed as a doctrine of the Church, may be rejected as false, even if it is on a matter of faith and morals, and even more any view he expresses on other matters. A well-known example of a personal opinion on a matter of faith and morals that was taught by a pope but rejected by the Church is the view that Pope John XXII expressed on when the dead can reach the beatific vision. The limitation on the pope's infallibility 'on other matters' is frequently illustrated by Cardinal James Gibbons's recounting how the pope mistakenly called him Jibbons.
TCE: Wikipedia's writer must be as confused as all Papal Roman Catholics are - and/or simply utterly ignorant of the full range of the 'Papal infallibility' claims of the Papacy which includes the incredible:
'Every cleric must obey the Pope, even if he commands what is evil; for no one may judge the Pope.' - Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)
And this continues to hold corrupt power over contemporary Papal Roman Catholics:
'The First See [Rome/papacy] is judged by no one. It is the right of the Roman Pontiff himself alone to judge ... those who hold the highest civil office in a state. ... There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.' - From today's Code of Canon Law
We have already employed the views of experts on Papal Roman Catholicism regarding these points on earlier pages and the comments there include the fact that:
' ... the evidence from top historians is that, even in the immediate centuries after Christ, the Church had no notion that the Bishop of Rome had the final word on all disputes or that he was infallible - because there is absolutely no evidence that support the idea. Furthermore, the evidence from the doctrines and actions of the popes makes it clear that they were not only ludicrously fallible, but often despicable, moronic and utterly wicked. It is revealing that a 1987 Time poll revealed that 93 percent of Catholics held the opinion that 'it is possible to disagree with the pope and still be a good Catholic.' Not that the evidence shows that the opinion of Roman Catholics is of much value either!'
So, for a very long time, what has been the pragmatic effect of 'infallibility' and 'ex cathedra' statements?
Continuing from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081225194228AA33R8k :
So pretty much, if something is declared EX CATHEDRA, everyone would read about it in the papers and such. It's really not that big of a deal in general use.
A document that is 'ex cathedra' is pretty much laying down the law as to what is to be current Church policy. I would guess that the clergy regard them more seriously than the laity. For the clergy, they are procedural rules, whereas for the laity--they can take them or leave them; the laity may beliee [sic] what they wish to, in the privacy of their own minds.
Usually, the senior pastor in a church will discuss the papal directives in church during a sermon. I suspect the full text can also be obtained online.
We know [' ... which Papal statements are 'ex cathedra'?] because he specifically says so.
All ex-cathedra statements are important and a devout Catholic will follow them (though there are only two of them so far). A cafeteria Catholic picks and chooses what they feel like believing and/or following. It depends on the Catholic school whether or not they teach about it. Some Catholics schools are pretty much secular and some are devout.
Setting aside deciding what you actually mean by the term 'average Catholic,' it would seem reasonable to expect that faithful Catholics, perhaps even lapsed Catholics, consider everything the Pope says as ex-cathedra.
Probably only at some very conservative Catholic schools (like those run by the Legion of Christ) would students be taught about or know much about many of the ex cathedra teachings.
These statements are extremely rare having happened only a couple of times in the 2000 year history of the Church and are always matters of faith and morals. All Catholics heed the teaching of the Pope when He speaks from the chair of Peter. God bless!
What are you talking about? I have never heard of such a term ... 49 years Catholic
Papal infallibility wasn't defined explicitly until the first Vatican council. Until the Reformation, Papal Infallibility was widely accepted by Christians. Many beliefs Like the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption that had been believed by Catholics for many centuries but never really questioned. The Pope or a Council defined some of these beliefs only when the subject was a matter of extreme controversy and needed to be clarified as to exactly what the accepted definition was to be believed by the faithful. The nature of Jesus, the Trinity, and of Mary as the Mother of God (Theotokos) were some of the items that were debated and defined by the earlier Councils.
For this reason it's difficult to pin down exactly how many times a Pope has said something that is infallible. Hopefully someone else will provide an approved list.
Is there an 'official' list of Ex cathedra statements made by Popes throughout history? By official I mean something from the Vatican, not from some well meaning individual, even if that individual may have theological qualifications and be a bishop, cardinal, or whatever. There have been members of the hierarchy and theologians in the past who have been wrong about things.
I'm looking for something at least from a Vatican congregation, preferably the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
You won't find such a list because it itself would not be infallible. The closest thing you will find are the various 'Acta' documents from Rome.
TCE: When we read your attacks on 'variable Protestantism' and compare them with the incredible ignorance of the vast majority of Papal Roman Catholics we speak to, or dialogue with, in the United Kingdom - and then read comments such as these from the Internet - we see clear evidence of this same ignorant, confused, 'cafeteria Catholicism' widely and emphatically proven!
You may feign detachment over the inability of your apologists to define an infallible list of ex cathedra statements and hope there exists the fallible certainty that they may be limited to these few, whether it is two or three, or even a few more. But you simply cannot do that for a very obvious reason: you have tried to argue for a unified Papal Roman Catholic religion with a carefully defined canon of revelation, but you have failed to even prove that the Apocrypha is part of that canon! Logically, you cannot simultaneously insist that 'Protestants' produce an infallible listing of the canon of God's Word (even though we willingly name the 66 books we recognise!) while you and your co-believers ignore the fact that your own Church is also unable to do the same with something as simple as a list of ex cathedra statements - statements which, in Papal Rome, are part of the Word of God.
While these 'sample' Papal Roman Catholics speculate on the number of ex cathedra statements and who may have compiled a definitive list of them, it seems that none of them can even suggest where to obtain details, such as the longer list compiled by Adam S. Miller in his booklet, The Final Word (Gaithersburg, MD: Tower of David Publications, 1997), p28)? Miller confidently asserts that he has produced '… a listing of [eleven!] ex cathedra Papal pronouncements on matters of doctrine' and a listing of 'what the Catholic Church has defined as those truths formally revealed by God and necessary for belief.'
A longer list of 18 ex cathedra papal statements was produced by Roman Catholic priest Leslie Rumble in his book, That Catholic Church: A Radio Analysis (St. Paul, MN, Radio Replies Press, 1954), p81). Rumble listed considerably more statements than other apologists and also included two caveats indicating that the degree of certainty of the reliability of his (or any) list is in doubt. To his list of 18, Rumble added two caveats indicating that he was not entirely certain and, next to items 12 and 13, he added this clarification:
'There are some Catholic theologians who hold that, although these two decrees of Pope Leo XIII are of the utmost authority, they still fall short of technical requirements for infallible 'ex cathedra' utterances.'
And next to items 16 and 17, he added:
'[These] Two utterances very probably comply with the requirements of an 'ex cathedra' decision …' (p81)
The contradiction is obvious for, while true Christians believe that 'Protestant' Bibles contain only the inspired, infallible Word of God, Rumble concedes that there is certainly some doubt about some aspects of papal statements and even defers to what 'some Catholic theologians' believe while others only 'very probably' comply with ex cathedra requirements!
Logically, this can hardly give any Papal Roman Catholic confidence in 'Papal infallibility' or 'Apostolic Succession'!
Inauspiciously, the hierarchy of Papal Rome exhibit as much dissension on the number of criteria as their supposed disciples reveal on the number of ex cathedra statements. What exactly are the criteria by which a papal statement can be considered to have been ex cathedra? And how many criteria are there?
Another Papal Roman Catholic apologist, Scott Butler, wrote a book (Scott Butler, et al, Jesus, Peter and the Keys: A Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy, Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing Company, 1996, p203) in which he provided three criteria by which one may 'know' that a pope has spoken infallibly and, in doing so, he cited the Vatican Council I statement, Lumen Gentium (brackets added by Butler in original):
'And this is the infallibility with which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when  as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith,  by a definitive act  he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals.'
By contrast, The Catholic Encyclopedia (1907, Vol VII, p796) suggested four criteria are necessary and, while they are not entirely redundant to Butler's three, they also required the additional rider that the statement must contain a binding condemnation of error. Another Papal Roman Catholic apologist and priest, William G. Most, believes there are only two criteria by which a papal definition is to be considered infallible:
'If a Pope intends to make anything definitive, that is infallible. No special form of words is needed … We conclude that all that is required is  the intent to make an item definitive, plus  writing in such a way as to make that intent clear.' (W.G. Most, Infallibility of Level Three Teachings; published electronically for use in classes taught by Fr. Most and for private theological study - brackets added for clarity)
The problems for you - and all Papal Roman Catholics - are obvious. You complain repeatedly about the variableness you consider to be exhibited by 'Protestants', but you cannot even determine 'infallibly' which set of criteria should be used to conclude that a doctrine has been taught ex cathedra. Should you apply three criteria, or four, or only two? And which set of criteria is the infallible set? And whose interpretation of the two, three or four criteria is the infallible interpretation? This is an extreme dilemma which clearly torments those who recognise their lack of assurance - as exhibited by the Internet forums. And we do not forget the many others who would have 'Googled' the same question, found these many inadequate answers, and decided that they can never be absolutely sure of the answer either! Obviously we can never know how many Papal Roman Catholics have debated the infallibility of various papal statements, but we know they have never found the answer because they cannot ever have known infallibly which criteria to use. The truth of these facts is often witnessed in the rarity of the occasions when Papal Roman Catholic apologists try to prove exactly how many ex cathedra papal statements there have been, or exactly how they know for sure when a Papal Roman Pontiff will exercise this supposed gift of infallibility in the first place for here, as in so much else, there is disagreement within the many disparate branches of Papal Rome.
One apologist for Papal Rome, Karl Keating (re. apologetic ministry Catholic Answers), believes the pope normally only exercises the charism of infallibility when a controversial matter must be settled:
'An infallible pronouncement - whether made by the pope alone, by an ecumenical council, or by the constant teaching of the Church's magisterium through the centuries - usually is made only when some doctrine has been called into question.' (re. 'Papal Infallibility,' Catholic Answers 1996 tract - http://www.catholic.com/ANSWERS/tracts/p-infall.htm - may no longer connect)
But, on the other hand, Roman apologist Hahn believes the exact opposite:
'Now, many people think that this ex cathedra, this official papal pronouncement defining dogma, is sort of like the ultimate way in which the pope resolves doctrinal controversies. That is the opposite of the truth. The pope is not an umpire. The pope is not a referee. … we wrongly understand his office and his ministry if we think that he is just to call 'fair' and 'foul,' 'safe' and 'out,' and throw the flag and declare the penalty.' (Hahn, Scott, 'A Biblical Understanding of Mary,' tape 3 of 4, side 1)
Doubtlessly, Papal Roman Catholics with 'strong' views will consider Hahn to be of the 'cafeteria' Papal Roman Catholic class (so much for accusations of division amongst 'Protestants'!), but we hardly see any evidence that Keating is of a 'stronger' ilk when we see his disparate reasoning.
(Continued on page 343)