måndag 29 december 2014

Ever Heard of Claudian Famine in Corinth, and Dinippus?

1) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Jephthah's daughter, 2) Great Bishop of Geneva! : Ever Heard of Claudian Famine in Corinth, and Dinippus?

My position earlier when I heard of Dinippus, oh so late in my life, was not that he was an emergency relief worker in a catastrophic famine, but that he was a kind of social worker among unemployed or ill paid poor people.

But when Evangelicals tout Dinippus, it is usually as "proof" that St Paul in 1 Cor 7 by "present concerns" means a dire famine, and that such times are not the best for getting children. In other words, he would not have been recommending celibacy per se, he would have been recommending Malthusian abstinence. You see, they claim Dinippus was an emergency relief worker and that Corinth was in a famine.

Before we get into other problems with this position, more of a theological type, we might want to ask ourselves if Dinippus was really living in a place and time when famine was occurring. So, I did two wiki searches and one google.

  • I Wiki search on claudian famine

    • Did you mean: claudian family

      The page "Claudian famine" does not exist. You can ask for it to be created, but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered.

    • In the article on Claudius (or articles, I consulted both French and English articles, obviously not written by same contributing wikipedians) I found that Claudius had trouble getting grain to ITALY especially each winter, due to shipping liabilities (and I presume myself Italy being centre of empire attracted lots of people seeking redress of affairs from Emperor, from Emperor's courtier, from Emperor's courtier's courtier, from Senators, from Senators' courtiers, from Senators' courtiers' courtiers and so on) weather not being the best for shipping transports. Riots mentioned in Evangelical Apologetics as evidence for a general famine over Roman Empire in Claudiu' Day to my mind were simply due to these factors, and since Corinth was not Italy, but Greece, well, Corinthians I and II should contain no reference to the "Claudian famine".

      But supposing I were wrong, what about doing a wiki search for famine in Corinth?

  • II "famine corinth" was the next search. Still on wiki, of course.

    • Results 1 - 20 of 72

      Did you mean: family cornish

      The page "Famine corinth" does not exist. You can ask for it to be created, but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered.

    • 1 Archias of Corinth - founded Syracuse was slain by Telephus the grandson of Hercules (not the right famine)

    • 2 430s BC (famine or not, NOT the right year)

    • 3 Battle of Greece quoting:

      "The loss of Piraeus and the Isthmus of Corinth would fatally compromise withdrawal and evacuation of British and Greek"

      (famine or not, not the right year)

    • 4 Damaskinos of Athens (category Bishops of Corinth)

      "priest of the Greek Orthodox Church in 1917. In 1922, he was made Bishop of Corinth. He spent the early 1930s as an ambassador of the Ecumenical Patriarch"

      (famine or not, not the right year)

    • 5 Aeëtes

      Yep, that man from the Black Sea, father of Medea, except that ...

      "Yet other versions make Aeëtes a native of Corinth and son of Ephyra, or else of a certain Antiope. Pausanias states that"

      (famine or not, not the right year)

    • 6 Melas (mythology)

      "He expressed desire to join the Dorians in their expedition against Corinth."

      Wait, was this before Corinth was Doric? NOT the right year.

    • 7 Paul the Apostle

      "Around 50–52, Paul spent 18 months in Corinth. The reference in Acts to Proconsul Gallio helps ascertain this date (cf. Gallio inscription).[18] In Corinth, Paul met Priscilla and Aquila who became faithful believers and helped Paul through his other missionary journeys. The couple followed Paul and his companions to Ephesus, and stayed there to start one of the strongest and most faithful churches at that time. In 52, the missionaries sailed to Caesarea to greet the Church there and then traveled north to Antioch where they stayed for about a year before leaving again on their third missionary journey"

      "Tiber[ius Claudius Cae]sar Augustus Ge[rmanicus, invested with tribunician po]wer [for the 12th time, acclaimed Imperator for t]he 26th time, F[ather of the Fa]ther[land...]. For a l[ong time have I been not onl]y [well-disposed towards t]he ci[ty] of Delph[i, but also solicitous for its pro]sperity, and I have always guard[ed th]e cul[t of t]he [Pythian] Apol[lo. But] now [since] it is said to be desti[tu]te of [citi]zens, as [L. Jun]ius Gallio, my fri[end] an[d procon]sul, [recently reported to me, and being desirous that Delphi] should retain [inta]ct its for[mer rank, I] ord[er you (pl.) to in]vite well-born people also from [ot]her cities [to Delphi as new inhabitants..."

      No famine mentioned!

    • 8 5th century BC (famine or not, NOT the right year)

    • 9 Greek Dark Ages

      "Following the collapse, fewer and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation. In Greece the Linear B writing of the Greek language used"

      Is Corinth mentioned? No (I perused article to verify). Plus again NOT the right year.

    • 10 Manuel I Komnenos, 11 Massacre of Kalavryta 13 Alaric I 16 Timeline of World War II (1944) 17 Late Antiquity 18 Military history of Greece during World War II 19 Lelantine War 20 Mississippi (yes, there is a Corinth along that river too!) 22 Demetrius I of Macedon 23 Argos and Nauplia 25 440s BC 27 Ottoman Empire 28 List of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess characters 29 Celtic settlement of Eastern Europe (doesn't say C. was one, but says North of C. sth.) 30 List of Greek Resistance organizations 32 Patrick Leigh Fermor 33 Battle of Crete 34 Goths 36 Hermes - Corinth mentioned without famine in preview, NOT the right year.

    • 12 1140s 14 Dacius (bishop of Milan) 24 Archaic Greece 26 Union blockade 35 Louisville in the American Civil War - famine mentioned in preview, not Corinth, NOT the right year.

    • 15 492 BC 21 490s BC

      NOT the right year. Both famine and Corinth mentioned, but the famine that year was in Rome, not in Corinth, and Corinth comes in as giving advice on Sicily

    • 31 Early Christianity

      I've gone to 36, half of the list now!

      Would latter half be better for finding a famine in Corinth in the time of St Paul?

      I somehow doubt it!

  • III Google on claudian famine corinthians

    • 1 [PDF]tiberius claudius dinippus and the food shortages in corinth


      Traduire cette page

      de BN Danylak - ‎2008 - ‎Cité 3 fois - ‎Autres articles

      present distress' (τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ἀνάγκην) in 1 Corinthians 7:26 is a reference to a food .... pressed by the term ἀνάγκην to be the Claudian famine recorded in.

    • 2 The Book of Acts in Its Graeco-Roman Setting

      https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=0802848478 - Traduire cette page

      David W. J. Gill, ‎Conrad Gempf - 1994 - ‎Religion

      ... this unanimous display of appreciation by the Corinthians is unprecedented.30 There is only one ... The extent of the famine The more complex matter is to determine how one would expect ... Acts as having been fulfilled in the Claudian era.

    • 3 Tiberius Claudius Dinippus And The Food Shortages In ...


      Traduire cette page

      ... reference to 'the present distress' (τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ἀνάγκην) in 1 Corinthians ... a number of famines in the Mediterranean region during the Claudian period, ...

    • Here I looked no further. Three first hits on the search were Evangelicals arguing the thesis about 1 Cor 7.

So I looked into the Bible. Douay Rheims Bible Online has a search function.

Acts 11:28, then ...

27 And in these days there came prophets from Jerusalem to Antioch.

28 And one of them, named Agabus, rising up, signified by the spirit, that there should be a great famine over the whole world, which came to pass under Claudius.

29 And the disciples, every man according to his ability, resolved to send relief to the brethren who dwelt in Judea:

30 Which also they did, sending it to the ancients by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Ver. 29. Who dwell in Judea. Most of the faithful in Jerusalem, who wished to live perfect lives, had sold their possessions, and placed the price in the hands of the apostles; and many others, who had not voluntarily relinquished their property, had probably lost most of it in the persecutions. Hence arose the particular distress of the brethren in Jerusalem, to relieve which the Gentiles made collections. It was meet, that they who had been made partakers of their spiritual goods, should now in time of need administer to them of their temporal substance. (Denis the Carthusian) --- Imitate the alms of these primitive Christians, and make to yourselves provision against another life. Oh how many are now clothed in silks, and abound in pleasures, but are naked and void of every thing, that will bear examination on the day of judgment! (St. Chrysostom, hom. xxvi. in Act.)

Ver. 30. Sending it to the ancients;[2] elders, &c. In this and diverse other places, are not to be understood such as were elder in age, but such as had offices and dignities, and by divine authority, and who with a due subordination were to govern the Church: so that by this word, were signified apostles, bishops, and priests. But of this more hereafter. (Witham) --- The ancients or priests, seniors, presbuterous. This is the first place in the New Testament, where priests are mentioned. Some interpreters think, that by this word, ancients, are meant the apostles; but this is not likely. The apostles must at that time have been dispersed over all the world. Others think it was some of the older deacons, who had charge of the alms. We like the opinion of those who think it means priests, subordinate to the apostles, who had the charge of governing the faithful, in their absence. Thus the Christian Church will appear modelled after the form of the synagogue. First, the bishop, who presides, corresponding to the head of the synagogue; the priests, to the ancients, who sat on the right and left of the chief; and the deacons, to the disciples of the Scribes, who studied the law. It must be allowed that many passages occur in Scripture, which it seems necessary to explain of priests of the second rank. St. Paul, (1 Timothy v. 1. 17. 19.) St. James (v. 14) orders the priests to be called to anoint the sick man, which cannot be explained of bishops, as there was only one in each town. It must nevertheless be observed, that this same word ancient, or priest, is often used in Scripture, and primitive writings, to designate a bishop. (Calmet)

I must admit there was a famine all over the world or over the Roman world (oikoumene) which is less well documented in modern secular scholarship, and as for documents of antiquity, I don't know. But was it especially hard in Corinth? I somehow doubt Corinth was famine stricken since that time when Archias of Corinth by his offense provoked a divine punishment which even the Greeks were able to pinpoint to his sodomitic extra bad behaviour.

OK, Antioch sent to the Church of Jerusalem or Faithful in Judea. A bit like Wittenberg was later sending Peter's penny to Rome, which Luther didn't like. Wasn't this before Corinth was converted?

I search Jerusalem, to see if it is mentioned in Corinthians. OK, there is 1 Corinthians 16:

[1] Now concerning the collections that are made for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, so do ye also. [2] On the first day of the week let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him; that when I come, the collections be not then to be made. [3] And when I shall be with you, whomsoever you shall approve by letters, them will I send to carry your grace to Jerusalem.

Yes, when I Cor was written the collections for Jerusalem were being made. So, the famine was ongoing.

Still, if Corinthians could afford sending money or food necessities to Jerusalem, we can hardly imagine they were so hard set themselves so as not to be able to marry for economic reasons.

If it had been, St Paul would have been taxing them much more ruthlessly than ever Peter's penny taxed even Greenland before it was abandoned. So, if you think starvation in Corinth was what St Paul wanted to protect people from by calling celibacy preferrable, why wouldn't he have been better off telling them to give somewhat less to Jerusalem? We must give to the poor, but not so much as to suffer worries ourselves so they can live without care.

So, the thesis is not very plausible.

But the method in theology is even idiotic. Yes, people write things in context. Yes, to some extent the understanding of that context gives a new light to what the writing meant. But that extent must be limited when it comes to contexts unknown over two thousand years of Church History (except contexts foreseen for OUR times, if these are end times, of course) and new light at variance with how the writing has been taken over the same time by very different writers. Otherwise Bible is made useless for instruction up to the most recent discoveries, which is absurd.

Needless to say the usual Catholic comments would be saying the verses mean a recommendation of celibacy. But what about Calvin? Wouldn't he be a support to Evangelicals?

As he had spoken of fornication, he now appropriately proceeds to speak of marriage which is the remedy for avoiding fornication. Now it appears, that, notwithstanding the greatly scattered state of the Corinthian Church, they still retained some respect for Paul, inasmuch as they consulted him on doubtful points. What their questions had been is uncertain, except in so far as we may gather them from his reply. This, however, is perfectly well known, that immediately after the first rise of the Church, there crept into it, through Satan’s artifice, a superstition of such a kind, that a large proportion of them, through a foolish admiration of celibacy, (367) despised the sacred connection of marriage; nay more, many regarded it with abhorrence, as a profane thing. This contagion had perhaps spread itself among the Corinthians also; or at least there were idly-disposed spirits, who, by immoderately extolling celibacy, endeavored to alienate the minds of the pious from marriage. At the same time, as the Apostle treats of many other subjects, he intimates that he had been consulted on a variety of points. What is chiefly of importance is, that we listen to his doctrine as to each of them.

Is this the case? The theory is at least not supported by the guys who drag in poor old Dinippus into the question - if they had found evidence of a strong pro-celibacy party in Corinth, wouldn't they have preferred to say St Paul was partly conceding but mainly correcting these, as Calvin was explaining the passage?

1. It is good for a man. The answer consists of two parts. In the first, he teaches that it were good for every one to abstain from connection with a woman, provided it was in his power to do so. In the second, he subjoins a correction to this effect, that as many cannot do this, in consequence of the weakness of their flesh, these persons must not neglect the remedy which they have in their power, as appointed for them by the Lord. Now we must observe what he means by the word good, when he declares that it is good to abstain from marriage, that we may not conclude, on the other hand, that the marriage connection is therefore evil — a mistake which Jerome has fallen into (!), not so much from ignorance, in my opinion, as from the heat of controversy. (!)

Marriage is not an evil, but when Calvin accuses St Jerome of calling it so, one can suspect the people foolishly extolling celibacy too much in Corinth - according to Calvin's mind - are really a reflex of Calvin's rejection of the Catholic extolling of celibacy.

Here comes more, after some interruption:

But here another question presents itself, for these words of Paul have some appearance of inconsistency with the words of the Lord, in Genesis 2:18, where he declares, that it is not good for a man to be without a wife. What the Lord there pronounces to be evil Paul here declares to be good I answer, that in so far as a wife is a help to her husband, so as to make his life happy, that is in accordance with God’s institution; for in the beginning God appointed it so, that the man without the woman was, as it were, but half a man, and felt himself destitute of special and necessary assistance, and the wife is, as it were, the completing of the man. Sin afterwards came in to corrupt that institution of God; for in place of so great a blessing there has been substituted a grievous punishment, so that marriage is the source and occasion of many miseries. [...] The sum is this, that we must remember to distinguish between the pure ordinance of God and the punishment of sin, which came in subsequently. According to this distinction, it was in the beginning good for a man, without any exception, to be joined to a wife, and even yet, it is good in such a way, that there is in the meantime a mixture of bitter and sweet, in consequence of the curse of God. To those, however, who have not the gift of continency, it is a necessary and salutary remedy in accordance with what follows.

A Catholic would reason no differently as to the points made. Celibacy would not have been preferrable in the paradisal state, and matrimony would then not have been a distraction from wholehearted adoration of God. After the fall, this is no longer so, and once the assurance of mankind being multiplied is taken care of, the best disposed may certainly be recommended to become celibates.

Also, those not so well disposed should not be so recommended.

The one practical difference between Calvin and Catholics is that Catholics have monks, Calvin calls monks idlers and parasites.

Apparently, doing business is to Calvin less of a distraction from wholehearted adoration of God than marriage is. So those doing business and grudging the number of monks and priests supported by tithes and pious donations from those having gainful occupations could be rid of that number.

So, if the Catholic admiration of celibacy cannot be totally wrong - Calvin respected St Paul just a bit too much for that and had no Dinippus to show up as an excuse St Paul meant something totally other - the Catholic admiration of celibacy must at least be vastly exaggerated and the gift of continency must be vastly rarer than we Catholics suppose. And hence he comes to accuse also St Jerome, the great Bible translator, for falling into mistakes in the heat of controversy.

No, he didn't. If he had he would not have been a saint. And it's St Jerome, not Calvin, whom the Church Universal has considered a Saint. Catholics, and for those ignoring that Roman Catholicism is the Church, these are joined by Orthodox, by Lutherans, by Anglicans. Of which only the Anglicans would consider Calvin a saint. And Anglicans - like Lutherans - are not just schismatic and heretical, but even lack real Orders.

Here is Wesley:

Verse 1
It is good for a man - Who is master of himself. Not to touch a women - That is, not to marry. So great and many are the advantages of a single life.

Still not a trace of a Dinippus!

Here is Barnes - like Calvin he speculates there was an "exaggerated" admiration for celibacy around in Corinth:

Verse 1

Now, concerning … - In reply to your inquiries. The first, it seems, was in regard to the propriety of marriage; that is, whether it was lawful and expedient.

It is good - It is well. It is fit, convenient, or, it is suited to the present circumstances, or, the thing itself is well and expedient in certain circumstances. The apostle did not mean that marriage was unlawful, for he says Hebrews 13:4 that “marriage is honorable in all.” But he here admits, with one of the parties in Corinth, that it was well, and proper in some circumstances, not to enter into the marriage relation; see 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, 1 Corinthians 7:26, 1 Corinthians 7:28, 1 Corinthians 7:31-32.

Not to touch a woman - Not to be connected with her by marriage. Xenophon (Cyro. b. 1) uses the same word ( ἅπτω haptō “to touch”) to denote marriage; compare Genesis 20:4, Genesis 20:6; Genesis 26:11; Proverbs 6:29.

So, discovering Dinippus and making starvation in Corinth the background of St Paul's recommendation of celibacy is a real novum.

It is not made necessary by Genesis 2:18 either, since pre-fall and post-fall conditions are different. The goods of marriage in Catholic theology are : 1) offspring (common to pre- and post-fall conditions); 2) mutual help in warding off lust (post-fall only, and not quite as good as celibacy when it is well performed); 3) the bond of mutual fidelity which makes marriage different from philandering (and good celibates are not philanderers).

So, a novum is introduced, it is justified by a new discovery about the context ... or supposed such.

In other contexts that are NOT newly discovered, Evangelicals like Calvinists will not admit contexts known for more than 2000 years. The Queen of Heaven told of in Jeremiah is Ishtar the love goddess and war goddess. Her cult was already very much diminished, since Pagan Greeks and Romans called Juno or Hera Queen but Venus or Aphrodite love goddess and if any goddess then rather Minerva or Athena war goddess. But the person we honour as Queen of Heaven is no goddess at all, simply Mother of the King of Heaven, if Heaven's capital is called Jerusalem, its King's Mother must be Queen there. So, yes, some people do at their peril ignore a great difference of context.

It is not us Catholics.

Hans Georg Lundahl
BU Nanterre
St Thomas Becket of Canterbury

fredag 7 november 2014

söndag 28 september 2014

Between Vigilantius and the Waldensians

I have heard Protestants say or more recently read them write* that:

  • Benedict XVI/Ratzinger was wrong to affirm the need of Apostolic Succession and to affirm at same time that Protestantism lacked it;
  • since to them the continuation of the Church was not tied to the presence of legitimate pastors;
  • that a Church - here is the new item for today - was present in the Cottian Alps independently of Rome. And thus, it is presumed, independently of Apostolic Succession as we understand it.

This presumed Church in the Cottian Alps - was the claim insofar as I understood it - had Waldensians simply continuing the non-Roman Catholicism of Vigilantius. Never mind Vigilantius was rather from the Pyrenees! Richard Bennet is Irish, but he shows an US American disregard for European geography here!

Now, Vigilantius' Treaty or other utterance is not preserved to us. His positions are cited and refuted in Contra Vigilantium by Saint Jerome -and the Church Father is presuming Vigilantius or at least anyone else hearing of this would respect the Papal practise of praying over the full body relics of Saints Peter and Paul. Does not quite seem as if Vigilantius belonged to another confession or ecclesiastic body than Saint Jerome, even more so as Vigilantius was only presbyter, not bishop. One must therefore presume he depended on a bishop. Indeed, Exsuperius of Toulouse being his bishop did favour the views of Vigilantius and Saint Jerome intervened because Riparius, also a presbyter, brought forth the complaints against this. Now, this act of the good Catholic Riparius may be a precedent for making appeals against an apostate bishop, and even to good Theologians not necessarily Popes, but not Vigilantius and Exsuperius for Protestantism. Now, like Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine, Vigalantius lived in the 4th and 5th Centuries. Waldensians are recorded as a sect differring from Catholics in the 12th Century.

Here is a little problem for their theory. If Vigilantius was a Protestant rather than just a radical priest of the Vatican II type of disciplinary dissolution - despite depending on a bishop! - and if Protestants survived where he had lived to when they were Waldensians:

  • how come they did not preserve the precious treaty of Vigilantius by copying? Of course, if Vigilantius was Pyrenees and they were Cottian Alps, there might have been some Geographical difficulty, but if the lost treaty of Vigilantius could spread to where Saint Jerome could answer it, why not to the Cottian Alps, if there were proto-Albigensians there who might have been willing to preserve it?
  • And, did they accept the Bible translation of Saint Jerome, the Vulgate, despite Saint Jerome being a defender of reverence to relics, vigils, burning of tapers, despite defending the sending of alms to Jerusalem, despite his defending monkish poverty and virginal chastity?

    What happened when the language spoken in the Cottian Alps drifted further and further away from being basically one sound per each letter written in Latin?** For the Catholic Community, we know what Alcuin did. He made clergymen pronounce Latin as written, probably even more letter by letter than when Christianity began.** As a byproduct writing down the sounds of spoken speech, also letter by letter, started, first no doubt sporadically, as usual preparation for obligatory sermon in vulgar tongue,*** with different individual makeshifts for sounds not found in Alcuin's Latin pronunication, then written Romance languages emerged. But when exactly did writing Latin leave place to writing Occitan in the Cottian Alps? Would these presumed Waldensians also have been reading the Gospel in Latin pronounced as by the people, then obeyed the reform of Alcuin (despite him being a Catholic who venerated relics and wanted monks to be poor and chaste!) then read the Gospel in Alcuin's Latin and then found (what a coincidence with the Council of Tours, if so!) the people needed a translation and then introduced an Occitan suspiciously similar to that produced in Catholic countries like most of the Carolingian Empire? Or what happened? How did it affect the supposed Waldensian community there?

  • Do we have any traces of the supposed Waldensian community at all, between Vigilantius and the historic Waldensians?

Because, if we haven't, neither the kind of traces I have detailed out as possible, nor in general, how can anyone in his right mind affirm there was an uninterrupted Protestant community there?

If it agreed with Vigilantius in censoring relics, how come there are no conflicts with surrounding Catholicism up to the time of the Waldensians? I do not necessarily mean violent conflicts, but things like ...

  • Was there any Catholic in the 8th C who complained about the men in the Cottian Alps who refused to honour relics (as Vigilantius had done and as Waldensians would do)?
  • Was there any Cottian Alps Protestant who during the 10th C, the Dark Century of Papacy wrote anything like "look what comes of honouring relics"?
  • When the supposed Cottian Alps' Protestants saw Iconoclasm in the East, when Emperors agreed on icons what Vigilantius had said about relics and what Waldensians would say about both, but when they were also persecuting Iconodules, i e Catholics, despite the Waldensian tenet against persecuting anyone, as per La Nobla Leçoun, which whether originally Waldensian or not is one writing accepted by Waldensians, do we see any debates among the supposed Cottian Alps' community of Protestants as to which side to take or as to be neutral?

As far as I know, the answer to these three questions is a very resounding NO.

Now, there is another question than indefectibility of the Church involved in the Catholic claim that Apostolic Necessity is necessary.

Berean Bacon is claming the Cottian Alps got their Christianity independently of Rome, in the Apostolic age. That is indeed possible. I do not know it for a fact, but it is possible. The Catholic claim of Apostolic Succession is not concerned with only succession from St Peter in Rome, or from Sts Peter and Paul in Rome, but with succession from the TWELVE. One can be a bishop, in the Catholic sense, and not trace one's lineage as bishop back to St Peter. But one cannot be so and not trace one's lineage back to the TWELVE, of whom St Peter was foremost but of whom he was only one.

Bergamo got its bishop from St Barnabas - codisciple with St Paul of Gamaliel, only seriously considered named rival of St Paul about the canonic writing to the Hebrews - and St Barnabas was ordained or consecrated in Jerusalem along with St Paul before going off as missionary bishops, unless my memory of Acts or Pauline Epistles misleads me. Whether the Simon mentioned was St Peter or Kephas, or someone else, the cheirotonia did go back to the TWELVE. St Paul and the SEVENTY got their succession from them. Spain certainly got a lineage from St James the Greater, brother of Saint John, son of Zebedee. India certainly got a lineage from Saint Thomas Didymus.

These lineages persist also outside the Catholic Community. There is an ontological as well as a juridical side to episcopacy. The ability to ordain priests for the celebration of Holy Mass is there in a schismatic bishop, like those obeying the wrong "Pope" during the Western Schism. It is present in a bishop who is a heretic, like a Monophysite or a Nestorian. When heretical Monothelite bishops became Catholics, forming the Maronite Community, they needed no reordination, no reconsecration. It is only on the juridical side that episcopacy is automatically deficient or lacking when outside and especially when pertinaciously against the true Church.

And the earliest pastors of Protestantism at the Reformation did not receive episcopacy, excepting one Swede. And he did NOT transmit it, because he did NOT intend to. He changed the ritual because he did not believe in the Holy Mass.

Now, we are not monomaniacs about episcopacy irrespective of "congregation" (as they would say), just because Berean Beacon are blind to it and accuses us of being such.

A Catholic "congregation" without a bishop does not cease to be Catholic. It is widowed (as a bishop represents the Bridegroom), but it is not automatically in heresy or schism because it lacks a bishop.

The so-called Petite Église - it means "little Church" - accused Pius VII of apostasy because of his concordate with Napoleon I, for one thing because he made peace with revolutionary clergy (their practises had been condemned in Auctorem Fidei by Pope Pius VI when he condemned the Synod of Pistoia) and for another because he excommunicated remaining Counterrevolutionaries, remaining Chouans. Cadoudal died, executed by Napoleon's men, in communion with Little Church and not with Pius VII. As these considered Pius VII a non-Pope and traitor, they went into schism. They came to lack bishops and after some time even priests.

But it was their consideration of Pius VII which made them schismatic, not just the misfortune of lacking bishops and priests. And this lack could not make them heretics either. When their last priests died, there was noone who could celebrate Holy Mass with them. Their parishes were not just widowed, but now crippled as well. But did they take the Eucharist in the hands of laymen? No. They were not heretics or Protestants. They trusted episcopacy and Holy Mass continued elsewhere, as Christ had promised. They continued Baptism, which laymen can confer in cases of necessity, and they continued marriages, which the spouses are the ones conferring.

But the Protestants seeing no bishop sided with them saw no need for this limitation. They did not see that a congfregation without a bishop even though retaining the faith, is crippled, unable to continue where it is the Holy Eucharist : it has to unite itself to Holy Eucharist celebrated elsewhere.

That is what makes Protestantism so special as a heresy. There is a semi-episcopal or pseudo-epicopal variety of it recently forming the Porvoo Communion.° But it can show no correct episcopal lineage.

In the Cottian Alps, Waldensians finally did not even try to show such a thing, not when joining hands with Calvinists. But for all i know - and better historians than I will confirm it in some detail, I doubt not, if there is time for it before the world ends - Christianity in the Cottian Alps, previous to Waldensians, had bishops, had Holy Mass, had Seven Sacraments. And as Vigilantius was anyway in the Pyrenees, it honoured relics too.

And of course Vigilantius was no Protestant. He agreed with Protestants in some things, at least before getting the answer from Saint Jerome, like about relics. But he did not agree with them about Holy Mass or Apostolic Succession, nor about Seven Sacraments and Episcopal order.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou

NewAdvent : Fathers : Jerome : Against Vigilantius

* Richard Bennet in Berean Beacon, not linking.

** As long as the discrepancy was basically B and V (originally pronounced W) coinciding between vowels as our v, and the ten vowels of Latin, five long and five short, being simplified to the seven mid long vowels of Proto-Romance, and loss of nasality of nasal vowels spelled as vowel plus final m, as long as the morphological impact of this phonetic change was limited to making accusative agrum coincide with ablative agro, or future with perfect as in vocabit/vocavit, vocabimus/vocavimus, it was feasible to consider the written Latin as a way of writing the spoken language. But changes did not stop there. As to Alcuin's pronunciation, -um was not just not omitted or pronounced like -o, but -u- and -m were pronounced as two sounds, as we do today too, rather than as two letters for a nasal -u.

*** Council of Tours of 813 took note of fact that as Alcuin's pronunciation of the Gospel in Latin was not that of the people, these did not understand it. And those speaking a Germanic language, like Frankish or Burgundian, didn't understand it anyway. So, one decided after the Gospel a priest on a Sunday or Holiday had to explain its content in the vulgar tongue. This decision was taken within few decades of Alcuin's reform.

° Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists. Swedish Lutherans being closer than the others to having episcopal succession and even these not even near, when you consider what Laurentius Petri did.

måndag 22 september 2014

Answering an Attack Against Prayers for the Dead

1) Salute ... the Household of Onesiphorus, 2) Answering an Attack Against Prayers for the Dead, 3) Saint Onesiphorus revisited - did he die before St Paul?, 4) Luther, 2 Maccabees, Purgatory or Prayers for the Dead

The Bible teaches that those who have yielded to the Savior’s will (Hebrews 5:8-9) enter directly and immediately into the presence of the Lord after death (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8).

got questions? : What does the Bible say about praying for the dead?

That yielding to the Saviour's Will is essential to be saved, no Catholic doubts.

Hebrews 5 : [8] And whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered: [9] And being consummated, he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation. [10] Called by God a high priest according to the order of Melchisedech.

Yielding to His and His Father's Will according to verse 10 also implies that one acknowledge He is priest, i e sacrificer, "according to the order of Melchisedec" - who sacrificed as "bringing forth bread and wine". So, one must acknowledge that Holy Mass is not just a true memorial of His death, but also therein a true sacrifice.

This was prophecied of old - without this aspect of Catholicism, the prophecy of King David would remain unfulfilled:

Psalm 109 : [4] The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.

So, yes, we do agree that yielding (i e definitely, not just temporarily and then giving it finally up to sin or unbelief instead) to His Will is indeed necessary to Salvation and doing so adequately (whatever that involves - including acceptance of Holy Mass as a sacrifice for instance) is also sufficient for it. But what about getting to Heaven DIRECTLY after death if this condition is fulfilled?

Gospel According to Saint Luke : Chapter 23 [39] And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. [40] But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation?

[41] And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. [42] And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. [43] And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

Yes, the robber Dismas was received directly, not into Heaven, but into the Bosom of Abraham which became Paradise when Our Lord's Soul entered it. He came to Heaven along with the others of the Limbo of the Fathers a bit later, but Paradise was given the same day. Here is the Challoner comment:

[43] In paradise: That is, in the happy state of rest, joy, and peace everlasting. Christ was pleased, by a special privilege, to reward the faith and confession of the penitent thief, with a full discharge of all his sins, both as to the guilt and punishment; and to introduce him immediately after death into the happy society of the saints, whose limbo, that is, the place of their confinement, was now made a paradise by our Lord's going thither.

In other words, true, the robber whom we usually call Dismas was not in Purgatory between earthly life and Paradise, but that doesn't mean Purgatory doesn't exist.

Now, there are two other passages supposedly about every saved person going directly to Heaven when dying:

Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Philippians : Chapter 1 : [23] But I am straitened between two: having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better.

Second Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Corinthians : Chapter 5 : [5] Now he that maketh us for this very thing, is God, who hath given us the pledge of the Spirit. [6] Therefore having always confidence, knowing that, while we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord. [7] (For we walk by faith, and not by sight.) [8] But we are confident, and have a good will to be absent rather from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

I think, for one thing, both these passages of St Paul - at least the verses cited by "got questions?" - would still have been true if St Paul was not sure if he would go through Purgatory or go directly to Heaven.

But in one of the verses not cited, II Cor 5:5, we get a little key to why St Paul seems to have an assurance of getting to Heaven once he dies. Now he that maketh us for this very thing, is God, who hath given us the pledge of the Spirit. God had revealed to him and to the other ones in that "tabernacle" (verse 4, another indication Holy Mass is a sacrifice, since the place where St Paul and his disciples offered it was compared to the tabernacle where sacrifice was offered up between the time of Moses and that of King Solomon) that they would go to Heaven when they died.

Not that every Christian would, but that they would. They had that pledge of the spirit. And they examplify good Christians - it is a dogm of the Council of Trent that no one even a practising Catholic can know without special revelation that he will be saved, but they could very well know that they would not just be saved but also at least in the case of St Paul not go through Purgatory, since they could have such a special revelation.

When we Catholics speak of SAINT Paul or of SAINT Dismas, this means we have special assurance of their persistance and that the Church recognises they went directly to Heaven, without passing through purgatory. Meaning if St Paul had such a revelation it does not on the least contradict his title as given by Catholics of "saint".

As to the claim of the above cited site that even Catholic authorities "admit it is not in the 66 books of the Bible but the Apocrypha" we find support for praying for the dead, first it is not true that we regard the Bible as having only 66 books or the II Book of Maccabees as belonging to Apocrypha. Second it is not the only place, there was also Onesiphorus. As mentioned earlier on this blog.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Thomas of Villanova, Bishop
St Maurice and the Theban Legion, Martyrs

söndag 7 september 2014

Saint Thomas Aquinas was Not an Atheist

1) Great Bishop of Geneva! : Saint Thomas Aquinas was Not an Atheist ; 2) Creation vs. Evolution : CMI Cites Bible Text Supporting St Thomas over St Bonaventure

Some people have found in Saint Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae words like "it would seem there is no God, for if of two opposites one is infinite, the other is null, but God per definition is infinite good, however, there is evil, so there is no infinite good, there is no God" or some paraphrase of Occam's Razor (before Occam even lived) used against existence of God as superfluous in explaining things.

If the complaint is simply about a Christian stating the case for Atheism, for whatever purpose he may do it, I cannot defend him by saying the words are not there. They are. But if it is meant as proving he was himself an Atheist, that is quote mining. Today Lita Cosner had to answer a question about quote mining. Here is part of her answer:

It would be like an atheist quoting the Bible as affirming their belief in atheism, because 15 places in the Bible say “There is no God”. Of course, the Christian would point out that they are in contexts like, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you” (1 Kings 8:23) or “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 53:1). The surrounding words completely change the meaning, so it is dishonest to quote only the words that say what you want it to say.

Well, in Saint Thomas Aquinas too the surrounding words change the meaning. Before the two statements quoted he has asked something like "article three, whether there is a God" (in article two he had dealt with whether existence of God could be proven, answering yes, and that against those saying it could not be proven because self evident, and you cannot actually prove grass is green, because that is a primary fact used to prove other things, same with God existing). So the immediately preceding words might imply Saint Thomas was referring to some kind of debatable question. And the following words completely destroy the proposition "there is no God". First there is a Bible quote (Exodus 3:14 - not overlookable to π fans since the day when a Catholic bishop divided the Bible chapters into verses on a hunt), then he gets to a rational proof of God's existence. The first three parts could eventually mean there were some kind of impersonal unmoved mover, uncaused cause, necessary existence giving its existence to non-necessary items - modern Atheists would of course say that atoms are necessarily and eternally existent and the things we see are accidental configurations thereof - and this side was when he wrote not as easily and readily explainable in an Atheists sense, and that will on top of this also be further destroyed when he analyses "unmoved mover" in questions like whether God is a body or material or composed or multiple (with no, no, no, no answers all the way), but there are two more items even in this question that directly point to God being personal. Ordering wisdom - and most noble of nobles, in a clear hierarchy of values of the valuable existent things. Ordering wisdom as well as unmoved mover type of omnipotence is of course the approaches we use now against Atheism - as Geocentrics and as Creationists. A Universe where Venus and Mars are dancing around the Sun which is dancing around the Earth and all this within an aether turning westward around the Earth each day is too complex a thing to be set up by chance. Tychonic cosmology makes this even clearer than the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic one which Saint Thomas in his time had access to. Echosystems, the contribution of the Heavens to keep them alive on Earth, the cell, all of these defy atheistic explanations.

Then, after all the discussion which I have paraphrased for modern readers rather than quoted, converging to the conclusions that unmoved mover, uncaused cause, necessary self-existent existence, most noble of nobles and most wise ordainer of the order of Creation by everyone (back then) is (was at least) called God, Saint Thomas answers the two cases of atheism:

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): "Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil." This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

Reply to Objection 2. Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.

Now, to CMI (as I know from Jonathan Sarfati quyoting Saint thomas) it is no big news he was no atheist. But some people, both Protestant and perhaps even among the Orthodox, will still resort to accusing Saint Thomas of Atheism on account of some quote mining done by some anti-Catholic Anglican Divine of the 18th or 19th Century (unless it goes even further back).

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Sunday and Vigil of
the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

CMI : Feedback archive → Feedback 2014
‘What if Jesus tells you you’re wrong?’ (named after first letter, I was quoting answer to the second one)
Published: 7 September 2014 (GMT+10)

Newadvent/Summa : First Part : Question 2. The existence of God : Article 3 Does God exist? (down to ad 1, ad 2)

fredag 5 september 2014

Sylvain Romerowski admits Mosaic authorship of Pentateuch, disputes four senses and Baruch. Part I, Chuck Missler versus Reformers

I wrote an ironic theory about Apollonius Rhodus writing Iliad and Odyssey, as a parallel to the widely accepted idiocy that Ezra wrote the Pentateuch.

As the matter is sacred, even at the risk of spoiling a joke, I have to give serious credit to a scholar who credits Moses with the Pentateuch. Irony off here.

My credit will put his good achievement in the middle, surrounded by first a misunderstanding on his part, second (or third, after the credit) a criticism on his take on the sometimes so called « Apocryphs of the Old Testament » or sometimes rather Deuterocanonic Books. His name is Sylvain Romerowski, his book is called « D’où vient la Bible ? » and his problems which around the credit I will try to correct are connected with the fact he is a Protestant. When I first read his argument in favour of Mosaic authorship and then starting his discussion about deuterocanonic books, I first thought he was a Modernist Catholic. No such luck for them, he was a Protestant.

Part I, Divergent or Convergent Meanings ?
or Chuck Missler versus Reformers

Now for the correction, after discussing the canon he also gives some hints on how to interpret the Bible. One thing he rejects is the four senses, although he shows they have quite a patristic pedigree. His one argument against them is that a well written text to a reader reading it correctly cannot have divergent senses. There is one correct way of reading it.

He makes this point as against one Stanley FISH, « Is There a Text in this Class ? », Harvard University Press 1990. If it were impossible for readers with widely divergent backgrounds to read Stanley as he intended to be read, rather than in senses diverging from it, he would hardly have written the book at all.

Here I must give a credit to Stanley Fish on the issue there are interpretative communities. In Latin, in Hebrew (I presume) and in Modern Languages, there are three different standard ways of communicating a quote. Let’s take a famous one from Caesar.

On this occasion he said « veni, vidi, vici » / On this occasion he said « I came, I saw, I conquered. »

This is the modern procedure. The words are exactly the ones said (or an exact translation in case it was said in a different language), the quote is marked with quotation marks at the beginning and the end.

Homer has a similar procedure. I will not try to equal him in Homeric Greek, but will just give a fair prose translation :

Caesar, when the fair memories hastened to remind his thoughts of a battle, unleashed his tongue from the fetters of the teeth and said I came I saw I conquered, and having said these winged words awaited the worthy appraisal.

He gives a start which goes « unleashed his tongue from the fetters of the teeth and said » as his equivalent of first quotation mark, and he gives in lieu of ending quotation mark « and having said these winged words » plus some words about what he did next.

Holy Bible at least in Greek has a similar approach, « Jesus said » and then the words He said. If I recall OT passages correctly, the not-need of ending quotation marks usually depends on the words after the quote showing who answered or what happened after the dialogue.

Latin – the language of Caesar – has what is called « oratio obliqua ».

« Veni, vidi, vici » becomes « Caesar dixit se venisse, vidisse, vicisse. » Or for that matter, « Caesar dixit se, postquam et venisset et statim vidissed, mox vicisse. » Se is in accusative. The finite verb forms are changed to infinitive (Latin has both present, future and past such). But this is not so in subordinate clauses.

Now, there is a place, not in Holy Bible but in an encyclical of Pius XII where this has been missed.

Quemadmodum autem in biologicis et anthropologicis disciplinis, ita etiam in historicis sunt qui limites et cautelas ab Ecclesia statuta audacter transgrediantur. Ac peculiari modo deploranda est quaedam nimio liberior libros historicos Veteris Testamenti interpretandi ratio, cuius fautores Epistulam haud ita multo ante a Pontificio Consilio de re biblica Archiepiscopo Parisiensi datam ad suam defendendam causam immerito referunt. Haec enim Epistula aperte monet undecim priora capita Geneseos, quamvis cum historicae compositionis rationibus proprie non conveniant, quibus eximii rerum gestarum scriptores graeci et latini, vel nostrae aetatis periti usi fuerint,nihilominus quodam vero sensu, exegetis amplius investigando ac determinando, ad genus historiae pertinere;eademque capita, oratione simplici ac figurata mentique populi parum exculti accommodata, tum praecipuas veritates referre, quibus aeterna nostra procuranda salus innititur,tum etiam popularem descriptionem originis generis humani populique electi . Si quid autem hagiographi antiqui ex narrationibus popularibus hauserint (quod quidem concedi potest), numquam obliviscendum est eos ita egisse divinae inspirationis afflatu adiutos, quo in seligendis ac diiudicandis documentis illis ab omni errore immunes praemuniebantur. Quae autem ex popularibus narrationibus in Sacris Litteris recepta sunt, ea cum mythologiis aliisve id genus minime ae quanda sunt, quae magis ex effusa imaginatione procedunt quam ex illo veritatis ac simplicitatis studio, quod in Sacris Libris Veteris etiam Testamenti adeo elucet ut hagiographi nostri antiquos profanos scriptores aperte praecellere dicendi sint.

Have you noted « Haec enim Epistula aperte monet » followed by accusative « undecim priora capita Geneseos, » followed, after some subordinate clauses (which the type of inderect speech does not change to accusative with infinitive), by the words leading up to an infinitive « nihilominus quodam vero sensu, exegetis amplius investigando ac determinando, ad genus historiae pertinere ». Likewise «  eademque capita » (the same chapters, accusative) « tum praecipuas veritates referre » (infinitive) « tum etiam popularem descriptionem originis generis humani populique electi ».

All this is then the words of the Pontifical Biblical Commission to the Archbishop of Paris. Here comes the thing : the Pope just had introduced this by saying these words had been abused to an all to free exegesis of historical sense. He now comes with his own words, not referring the following accusative with infinitive (which is not reserved for indirect speech !) to the answer to Paris, but to the new heading, said on his own account « numquam obliviscendum est » (it must never be forgotten) … I will spare you the grammatical analysis, but the translation of a EWTN has as finale of the paragraph : « If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations (and this may be conceded), it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents. »

So the Pope is conceding part of what he just cited and reminding of inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. You can of course see that unfamiliarity with the accusative and infinitive may have given rise to misunderstandings going the way of liberal theology, when taking certain things as said on the Pope’s own account.

But when this has been said, such discrepancies of interpretative praxis are on a level which can easily be learned and therefore be guarded against misunderstandings.

Therefore, I must agree with Sylvain against Stanley that in the end, any work made accessible to any public (excepting perhaps people living in very rude conditions and unknowledgeable of culture, and even here God can have adapted their understanding to His word) can and should be read with all of the originally intended sense intact.

Now, the problem with Sylvain’s position is that there are other works than the Bible that have more than one convergent sense.

The today most famous allegories are perhaps Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and Animal Farm by George Orwell. They do have the sense – as tall and entertaining stories – of the words written on the page. They very obviously also have another sense altogether. But not a divergent one, rather a convergent one on another level. It is on this other level that the works are if not true in every detail at least intended to be so. The Pig Napoleon has never existed on any farm, except in the fantasy of George Orwell, but Stalin has very definitely existed at the same time when George Orwell wrote. The City of Destruction has never had physical city walls, even Babylon is not quiet the same thing, but the state of mortal sin does exist and does require leaving it before it is too late.

This is allegory verses history, and in these works only allegory is true, whereas history as such is false. Made up. A fable.

Now, this procedure was also current in ancient times. At least it had been current to reinterpret Homer allegorically, when his statements about the gods made no sense to the philosophical spirit of the readers in Alexandria. It can be argued that Apollonius Rhodus was so familiar with this procedure that he used it backwards and adapted his fable to allegorical interpretations in advance (let us not go into which ones!) So, this procedure was already familiar to Hellenistic Jews at least in the time of the New Testament. And it was on more than one occasion used to interpret the Old Testament by New Testament writers.

Not quite for the same motive as people disenchanted with Homeric pagan theology still refused to give up Homer as an author. No, but because just as a human author can adapt a fable to an allegoric purpose, so God who is almighty over real history and wiser than any human author can do so with real history for an allegory of real prophecy.

One had not yet come to writing full scale allegories, I think, like Pilgrim's Progress or Animal Farm. Not before Psychomachia by Prudentius I think (I consulted CSL's The Allegory of Love, and it has one chapter about allegory and one about courteous love before getting into definite portions of the main subject, where they are intertwined). But one had definitely come to interpreting long works as, though united in a story, having in each or at least more than one location an allegorical meaning. And this is what the theory of the four senses, at least as far as the allegoric sense is concerned.

Therefore the senses are not divergent but rather convergent on different levels. One of them, the moral sense, is actually not unknown to Protestants. As a child within the Protestant communities, I heard some preach over the courage of Daniel or the coping of Ruth and their confidence in God really being applicable to us, a model for us.

One major difference would be that in four senses reading, the moral sense might be an allegorical one (as when Origen gives a moral sense for Joshua's routing of armies under the Solar Miracle : so we must fight our sins and rout our vices under the Sun of Justice who is Christ, similar for the Psalm 137), whereas to deniers of the allegoric sense, the moral sense would often enough be simply parallel in a literal sense. Puritan readings of Joshua have encouraged them to bad treatment of both Irish and Red Indians.

There are other issues, where later-than-the-Reformers Protestants would agree, there are more than the Literal senses to the Bible. Have you heard Chuck Missler recite Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan*, Mahalalel*, Jared, Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah and then give the translations? Man (is) Appointed Mortal Sorrow (but) The-Blessed-God Will-Descend**, Teaching (that) His-Death-Shall-Bring (to?) the Despairing Rest. I would of course agree to it, except Henoch is not just "teaching" but "initiating", and Christ (who is the Blessed God who after this prophecy really did Descend) not just taught this, but initiated this blessing by the First Holy Mass on Maundy Thursday.

So where did Reformers rejecting the Four Senses get the curious idea that the other than literal senses were divergent senses?

The fact is, much of Catholic or Orthodox, much of Monophysite and I suppose also Nestorian statements about the Blessed Virgin Mary are really Biblical if you take certain Old Testament passages as Allegoric prophecies about Her.

The first OT statement about the Blessed Virgin is in Genesis 3. "I will put enmities between the woman and thyself, between her seed and thy seed". Sinning means being a slave of the old serpent. Enmity is incompatible with slavery, since slavery is a kind of peace. Therefore, God putting enmities between the old serpent and the woman means there must be one woman who is sinless. That one sinless woman is not Eve, obviously, she just came from sinning. Of course Eve also became an enemy of the serpent by doing penance. But the Blessed Virgin Mary fully fulfilled this part, just as there is enmity between Christ (the woman's seed) and Antichrist (the serpents' seed, see Apocalypse 19), there is enmity between her and Satan.

Now, such statements, and others meaning we do right to confide in her mediation (an allegoric reading of Esther, for instance), are in themselves not at variance with any literal statement in all of the Old or New Testament.

But they are at variance with a misreading of some such, namely for instance when Jeremiah condemns the idolatry of "the queen of heaven", meaning not the Jewish Queen-Mother of the Heavenly Jerusalem which we honour in Mary, but rather the false "queen" of "heaven", Ishtar. Refomers very sadly thought this word, to be taken literally, would also forbid honouring the Blessed Virgin as the Queen of Heaven, and therefore they came up with this cock-and-bull argument or pilpul against, on one hand what Protestants have called Mariolatry and on the other hand the very known connexion of this to the Allegoric Sense and therefore the Allegoric Sense as such, also.

Let this suffice against Sylvain Romerowski's attack on the Four Senses, which is in the Interpreting the Bible chapters.

Hans Georg Lundahl
UL of Nanterre
San Lorenzo Giustiniani
First Patriarch of Venice***

* Kenan is often spelled Cainan in Catholic Bibles. Probably because the Hebrew sound of èè no longer corresponded to the Greek letter η but instead was the new pronunciation of the earlier diphthong αι - as if a transliteration into Irish English had written it Keanan or as if a transliteration into other modern English had written it Kaynan (Tea/Tay, remember!). Mahalal-El is respelled Malaleel, with a vowel collide representing the h, but this displaced in relation to the Ls. ** Chuck Missler did not use the one verb "descend" but the verb and particle "come down". They mean the same thing and the Hebrew has in Jared no separate particle meaning "down" but rather a Perfect (or Prophetic Future) third person singular masculine (if I looked with sufficient correctitude at my mother's Hebrew studies) of a verb which has down in its stem meaning - a but like descend, though in Latin "de" actually means "down from", "down off" later only "from", "off". *** That is, first bishop of Venice to actually have been elevated into a Patriarch. He was canonised by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690 and himself lived on earth to January 8 1456. The date is when he was forced to become Patriarch, he did not want the post.

fredag 22 augusti 2014

Must a Christian Believe in Sufficiency of Scripture, and If So, in What Sense?

I was reading the Awake! of August 2014. If you have also picked it up, you know it features a short article about dreams. Not surprising, since there were dreams in the story of Joseph, also featured. Now to resume the article. It concludes:

  • 1) Dreams certainly did come from God in Biblical times.

  • 2) They do not come so to people already having the Bible in our times, since we should be content with the Bible.

  • 3) This is argued from a kind of total sufficiency of Scripture, including the passages on dreams included in it.

Unless I misunderstood something, they mean the only dreams instructing anyone now are the pretty few ones in the Bible.

Let us note a thing, going to interpreters of dreams is forbidden to the Christian. This of course pagans having certain dreams and using prophets as interpreters did not know. But the prophets interpreted according to inspiration from God. Council of Ancyra forbids consulting those that go by dream books, like those in use in New Age movement, of course, but I would clearly suspect equally the Freudian and Jungian ones used by therapists paid by medicaid systems. And in some cases, dreams are clear to oneself, immediately, so no interpreter is needed, this does not fall under ban, as far as I know, of the Council of Ancyra. With this red herring out of the way, least one should interpret my answer as endorsing New Age dream books, let's get to refuting this.

The first thing to note is that there is Biblical prophecy about dreams being part of the life of the Church, as well as of visions (a Catholic will very often be aware of Rue de Bac, La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima). The dreams and visions actually recorded in Holy Writ are a bit fewish to be a complete fulfilment of the prophecy. If one adds the records of Catholic Mysticism and actual Prophecy, that would correspond better.

The second thing is to note they back up the conclusion by two passages of the Bible - or rather the limiting part of the conclusion. I will cite the two passages from Douay Rheims and I will cite the Haydock comment for them as well.

I Cor 4:6 quoted passage essentially the words [go not] "above that which is written."

Verse in full:

But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes: that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written.

So, going past or beyond what is written is not wrong in itself, only if it leads to puffing oneself up against each other?

But several prohecies have been followed by no party implication at all. So they do not fall under the verse. Let us see what Haydock comments gives:

Ver. 6. These things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself, and to Apollo. Literally, these things have I transfigured in me and Apollo, that is, I have represented the divisions and disputes among you, as if it were by your contending, whether I, or Apollo, or Cephas were the best preachers, without naming those, as I might do, who are the true causes of these divisions, by striving who should be thought men of the greatest and brightest parts.

That in us, and by our example, who have no such proud disputes, you might learn that one be not puffed up against the other, and above that which is written, against the admonitions given in the holy Scriptures of being humble: or against what I have now written to you, that we must strive for nothing, but to be the faithful ministers of God, and not seek the esteem of men. (Witham)

It is the opinion of St. Thomas Aquinas and likewise of Estius, that St. Paul, Apollo, and Cephas were not the real causes of the divisions that existed amongst the new converts at Corinth, but that in making use of these names, he wished to teach them, that if it was unlawful to keep up these divisions even for the sake of the apostles, how far should they be from doing any thing of this kind for those whose authority was much less in the Church. But Calmet is of opinion, that the divisions amongst the Corinthians were certainly on account of Paul, Apollo, Cephas, and perhaps some others, whose names are not mentioned.

What about the part concerned with going beyond Scripture? Haydock comment cited Bishop Witham as saying: "and above that which is written, against the admonitions given in the holy Scriptures of being humble: or against what I have now written to you, that we must strive for nothing, but to be the faithful ministers of God, and not seek the esteem of men."

The words "that which is written" (in Greek probably one participle) are thus not concerned with all of Scripture, but with admonitions in Scripture against haughtiness and party spirit. Or even about what was just written before in that passage of that very Epistle which was not yet necessarily considered as Canonic Scripture. And in either case the disobedience is not concerned with extra-biblical sources for religiously or practically relevant information, but with haughtiness and party spirit.

So far from being the Reformers' case against Tradition and Magisterium, so far from being in any way a case against heeding dreams or visions - provided they do not contradict Scripture, of course - they are the very case against the Reformers. Unless they were to claim their party spirit was motivated by that which is written - as a Creationist might one day have to claim against Bergoglio's claim to Papacy. But the Scriptures cited by Reformers were actually misapplied in their criticism of Rome.

The other passage is more concerned with sufficiency of Scripture. But in a manner not quite as they meant it.

II Timothy 3:16,17. Here is DR:

16 *All Scripture divinely inspired is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, furnished unto every good work.

They cited it more like in verse 17 "that a man may be perfectly furnished unto every good work". And they unerlined (or italicised) "perfectly" and "every". Implying, if one needed extra information one would also by Scripture itself be only imperfectly furnished or only perfectly furnished to some but not every good work.

DR does not have "perfectly furnished" but "perfect" and "furnished". That is perfect in his person, not just as far as knowledge but also as far as personal justice is concerned. And furnished to every good work, but perhaps not so perfectly as not to need extra information. Let us see what Bishops Witham and Challoner have to say in the Haydock comment. No, even more. Let us take the context. It actually contradicts the interpretation of Bible alone. Let's take 14 - 17 in a stride.

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, and which have been committed to thee: knowing of whom thou hast learned.

15 And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which can instruct thee unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 *All Scripture divinely inspired is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, furnished unto every good work.

Here are the comments on two verses, Bishop Witham and Father Haydock on first, Bishops Witham and Challoner - as just mentioned - on second, the verses being 14 and 16:

Ver. 14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, &c. St. Paul here gives particular advice to his disciple, St. Timothy, who had been long since instructed in all the truths and mysteries of the Christian faith, who had received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, of prophecy, of interpreting the Scriptures, who was a priest, a bishop of Ephesus, the metropolis of Asia, whose office it was to instruct, direct, and convert others. He tells this great bishop, that the holy Scriptures are able, and may conduce or can instruct him unto salvation, (ver. 15.) unto his own salvation and that of others. (Witham)

The apostle here entreats his disciple, and in him all future Christians, to adhere to the true deposit of doctrine. He teaches with Catholics, that all Scripture is profitable; but not with Protestants, that Scripture alone is necessary and sufficient.

Ver. 16. All scripture divinely inspired is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, or admonish, to instruct others in justice, and in the ways of virtue, that thus he who is a man of God, a minister of the gospel, may be perfect and instructed unto every good work. But when our adversaries of the pretended reformation, undertake from these four verses to shew, first, that every ignorant man or woman is hereby warranted to read and put what construction his or her private spirit, or private judgment, suggests upon all places of the holy Scriptures; and secondly, that the Scriptures alone contain all truths which a Christian is bound to believe; or at least, that the Scriptures teach him all things necessary to salvation, without regard to the interpretation and authority of the Catholic Church: I may at least say (without examining at present any other pretended grounds of these assertions) that these consequences are very remote from the text and sense of St. Paul in this place. As to the first, does this follow; the Scriptures must be read by Timothy, a priest, a bishop, a man of God, a minister of the gospel, whose office it is to instruct and convert others, therefore they are proper to be read and expounded by every ignorant man or woman? Does not St. Paul say elsewhere, (2 Corinthians ii. 17.) that many adulterate and corrupt the word of God? does not St. Peter tell us also, (2 Peter iii. 16.) that in St. Paul's epistles are some things....which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as also the other scriptures, to their own perdition? See the preface to the Gospel of St. John, where reasons are brought for which it was requisite that the Church should put some restraint to the abuse which the ignorant made of reading the Scriptures in vulgar tongues. As to the second consequence, does it follow: every Scripture divinely inspired is profitable for St. Timothy, for a priest, a bishop, a man of God, a minister and preacher of the gospel, to teach and instruct, and conduce to bring both him and others to salvation; therefore they contain all things that a Christian need to believe? &c. Is not every Christian bound to believe that the books in the canon of the New and Old Testament are of divine authority, as in particular these two epistles of St. Paul to Timothy? Where does the Scripture assure us of this? But of this elsewhere. (Witham)

Every part of divine Scripture is certainly profitable for all these ends. But if we would have the whole rule of Christian faith and practice, we must not be content with those Scriptures which Timothy knew from his infancy, (that is, with the Old Testament alone) nor yet with the New Testament, without taking along with it the traditions of the apostles and the interpretation of the Church, to which the apostles delivered both the book and the true meaning of it. (Challoner)

All Scripture is profitable, but Scripture is not alone necessary, not alone sufficient. On top of the Scriptures mentioned to St Timothy, the Old testament, he also needed the New Testament (which was not yet in its entirety written) but even more immediately the Christian meaning of the Sacred Writings. It is profitable to a bishop (would certain Evolution believing bishops took note, "all" obviously including Genesis), but may still be hard to digest for the average Christian. As has been said elsewhere by Sts Peter and Paul. Verse 17 specifies "the man of God", not meaning us laymen, but meaning the clergy. And since even clergymen have distorted Scripture meanings, meaning the good and faithful clergy.

Note, since some Evolution believing bishops would use these Catholic principles to dissuade laymen from reading and believing Creation and Flood, that the Catholic Church HAS abundantly encouraged laymen to believe the Biblical History through the Centuries. Historia Scholastica is the historic narrative from Genesis to Acts in the Bible, also contains references to Josephus and other Christian historians, and it was translated into vernaculars, on order of the Church. Hard places would rather be places dealing with things like Sacraments in unusual wording to those accustomed to the scholastic one (some would conclude since wording is different, meaning would be different, not so), or places dealing with freewill or - as here - sufficiency of Scriptures.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Octave of the Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

onsdag 16 juli 2014

Mark Shea at His Best

It’s the July Installment of the Bad Evangelists Club!
July 16, 2014 By Mark Shea

Just one quote to whet your appetite:

What’s surprising is how seldom Protestants are aware they do this and who surprised they often are when you call their attention to it. I certainly was when I realized I did it.

He certainly meant "how surprised they are" and not "who surprised they are", but he might have been involved in the kabbalistic Novus Ordo cabals praying for me to suffer such things, however, this does not take away one jota of the value in his observation here.

I tell you, go and read it! Tolle lege!/HGL

Nearly overlooked, goes for this one too:

More White Evangelicals than American Jews…
July 16, 2014 By Mark Shea

lördag 5 juli 2014

Protestants - Not - Getting Around Matthew 28 Last Three Verses: John Calvin's Attempt

Great Bishop of Geneva! : 1) Makarios · 2) Once Saved, Always Saved - True for Church, Not True for All Christians Individually · 3) Protestants - Not - Getting Around Matthew 28 Last Three Verses: John Calvin's Attempt · 4) Barnes NOT getting around Matthew 28:20 ... · 5) Since St Francis of Sales had Real Objections to Calvinism ... 6) Contra Sproul 7) Barnes on Jewish Tradition 8) If Constantine had Founded the Catholic Church ... 9) Salvation and Schrödinger's Cat Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : 10) ... on Apostolic Succession, both as to Reasons and Answering an Objection or Two (quora)

Quoting from:

Studylight - Calvin's Commentary, Matthew 28

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 18
18.And Jesus approached and spoke to them. His approach unquestionably removed all hesitation. Before relating that the office of teaching was committed to the disciples, Matthew says that Christ began by speaking of his power; and not without reason. For no ordinary authority would here have been enough, but sovereign and truly divine government ought to be possessed by him who commands them to promise eternal life in his ham to reduce the whole world under his sway, and to publish a doctrine which subdues all pride, and lays prostrate the whole of the human race. And by this preface Christ not only encouraged the Apostles to full confidence in the discharge of their office, but confirmed the faith of his gospel in all ages. Never, certainly, would the Apostles have had sufficient confidence to undertake so arduous an office, if they had not known that their Protector sitteth in heaven, and that the highest authority is given to him; for without such a support it would have been impossible for them to make any progress. But when they learn that he to whom they owe their services is the Governor of heaven and earth, this alone was abundantly sufficient for preparing them to rise superior to all opposition. As regards the hearers, if the contemptible appearance of those who preach the gospel weakens or retards their faith, let them learn to raise their eyes to the Master himself, by whose power the majesty of the Gospel ought to be estimated, and then they will not venture to despise him when speaking by his ministers.

He expressly calls himself the Lord and King of heaven and earth, because, by constraining men to obey him in the preaching of the gospel, he establishes his throne on the earth; and, by regenerating his people to a new life, and inviting them to the hope of salvation, he opens heaven to admit to a blessed immortality with angels those who formerly had not only crawled on the world, but had been plunged in the abyss of death. Yet let us remember that what Christ possessed in his own right was given to him by the Father in our flesh, or—to express it more clearly—in the person of the Mediator; for he does not lay claim to the eternal power with which he was endued before the creation of the world, but to that which he has now received, by being appointed to be Judge of the world. Nay, more, it ought to be remarked, that this authority was not fully known until he rose from the dead; for then only did he come forth adorned with the emblems of supreme King. To this also relate those words of Paul:

he emptied himself, ( ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε,) therefore God hath exalted him, and given to him a name which is above every other name, (Philippians 2:7.)

And though, in other passage the sitting at the right hand of God is placed after the ascension to heaven, as later in the order of time; yet as the resurrection and the ascension to heaven are closely connected with each other, with good reason does Christ now speak of his power in such magnificent terms.

This Catholic
Feels no need to argue with that. At present. Perhaps my eyes will sharpen, to some minor mistake of wording, but not right now.

On the contrary, Calvin is here a faithful inheritor of the Catholic faith which he had received by precisely Catholic successors of the Eleven before he apostasised. He is here even a good example against Modernists, who take the concept of κενωσις too far.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part α
19.Go out, therefore, and teach all nations. Though Mark, after having related that Christ appeared to the eleven disciples, immediately subjoins the command to preach the gospel, he does not speak of these as an unbroken series of events, for we learn from the enumeration of them which is given by Matthew, that the latter event did not take place before they had gone into Galilee.

This Catholic
Commends this exposition of the Gospel of St Mark, at least insofar as it shows the latter Gospel to contain interruptions of chronological narrative not shown in the text.

Quoting Calvins's exposition of Verse 19 part β
The meaning amounts to this, that by proclaiming the gospel everywhere, they should bring all nations to the obedience of the faith, and next, that they should seal and ratify their doctrine by the sign of the gospel. In Matthew, they are first taught simply to teach; but Mark expresses the kind of doctrine, that they should preach the gospel; and shortly afterwards Matthew himself adds this limitation, to teach them to observe all things whatsoever the Lord hath commanded.

This Catholic
As Haydock comment says, not just "teach" but "make disciples." As to ratification "that they should seal and ratify their doctrine by the sign of the gospel" - the Gospels were not yet written when Christ said this to the Eleven. Christ gave a list of signs about to follow the Apostles (given in Mark 16), which are not "the gospel without the law" or "the gospel of grace alone replacing the law of works" or anything like that, but frankly miracles. Calvin does not say that.

Catholic historians of the Reformation have explained this omission by the fact (not recorded in Protestant biographies) that the Reformers had been cited to make miracles and had tried and not been able to. Therefore the Reformers claimed "the age of miracles is past" which is a non-Biblical doctrine. This, if true, also explains why Calvin here distorts the actual words of Christ to the disciples in Mark 16.

[17] And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. [18] They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. [19] And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. [20] But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

Does this mean that every successor of the Apostles can make miracles? No. The miracles are a free gift of God.

But does this mean that miracles shall accompany the Church to the end of ages? Yes. And these signs shall follow them that believe - not just you Eleven, but them that believe because of you also. That is, those whose faith is as large as the grain of mustard. About the same time Calvin wrote his exposé, Saint Francis Xaver was learning new tongues in a moment as he was preaching the Gospel to masses whose languages he had not had the opportunity to learn (he also used normal means of learning some of the languages, those he could foresee and prepare for).

The Church was throwing out devils. Beza makes it appear the spiritual warfare is against manners or doctrines, Barnes admits (as the Catholic Church practised while Calvin denied the practise) that exorcisms must be done.

Camillo de Lellis was healing sick:

Members of the Order also devoted themselves to victims of Bubonic plague. It was due to the efforts of the Brothers and alleged supernatural healings by de Lellis that the people of Rome credited De Lellis with ridding the city of a great plague and the subsequent famine. For a time, he became known as the "Saint of Rome".

De Lellis' concern for the proper treatment of the sick extended to the end of their lives. He had come to be aware of the many cases of people being buried alive, due to haste, and ordered that the Brothers of his Order wait fifteen minutes past the moment when the patient seemed to have drawn his last breath, in order to avoid this.

Thus wikipedia. I will strike out the superfluous word "alleged" here, on wiki, but it will (probably) reappaear, since people having believed Calvin's evil doctrine of no more miracles being done (age of miracles ended with death of Apostles) will put real ones in unnecessary doubt.

Quoting Calvins's exposition of Verse 19 part γ
Let us learn from this passage, that the apostleship is not an empty title, but a laborious office; and that, consequently, nothing is more absurd or intolerable than that this honor should be claimed by hypocrites, who live like kings at their ease, and disdainfully throw away from themselves the office of teaching.

This Catholic
Must observe, that the apostolic labours are not all on the missionary field (which Calvinists disdainfully neglected for centuries, slaying Amerindians as foreknown damned, when Catholics were laying down lives to convert them), nor the rest of them in internal mission efforts, like the supposed ones of Calvin and Bucer in a CHristendom as yet solidly Catholic, but not backed up by miracles, or like the real ones of St Francis, who cured a lame man in Narnia, a city between Rome and Assisi, and a leper in his native Assisi.

The commission is also to make disciples of all peoples, and not to leave them for new mission fields that done, but to stay with them and teach them to keep all that Christ had ordained.

This is of course less laborious than converting masses of either Heathens or Jews, either lapsed or lukewarm Catholics.

It is less laborious insofar as it relies on fervent Catholics among the lukewarm ones. Therefore a successor of Apostles in the mid of Christendom can sometimes give impression of being precisely as lazy in missionary efforts as a Calvinist Presbyter in a New England population.

New sects can always feel superior when not yet having to face the facts that attend an old sect - or a Church already close to two milennia in age. Calvin did not yet know New England Calvinist pastors of the 17th Century. He did not live to see them. Hence his high horses.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part δ
The Pope of Rome and his band proudly boast of their succession, as if they held this rank in common with Peter and his companions; and yet they pay no more regard to doctrine than was paid by the Luperci, or the priests of Bacchus and Venus.

This Catholic
Is flabberghasted at the description of Papacy here given.

Luperci spent each Lupercalia taking wolves' skins and whipping the women of Rome to make them fertile.

Popes have never pretended wolves' skins have such a property, nor that Mars is the correct deity to adress for fertility problems. They have always believed that God gave Sarah the motherhood of Isaac, miraculously at her 90:th year of age and that Mars is - as divinity concerned with earthly matters rathen than as planet - a figment of Pagan imagination at best, or of diabolic deception at worst. A non-entity as believed, and a devil as honoured by cultual acts, including, unless my memory fools me, the Lupercalian cult.

Priests of Bacchus spent their worship getting drunk and exciting Maenads - or women pretending to be the original Maenads of Bacchus.

Whatever the origin of the story that Bacchus enchanted women and made them Maenads (i e furious, mad, fanatic), even if the origin be in the story of Exodus of Moses (through a gross misrepresentation of Moses and Isrealites on part of Pharaonic Egyptians, if so), the story as such is about a non-entity and worshipping it is worshipping the devil, in this case also with the added vices of drunkenness and of making women hysteric.

This also the Popes of Rome have never denied. They have never said holding Baccanalia was licit, not even I think the pseod-papacy involved in Assisi 1986.

Whoever was the mother of Aeneas, was not a goddess, but only falsely honoured so by Pagans. Other capacities of her do include being the goddess of Vinalia (its god being Jupiter). Here I can see a certain connection to Catholic practise.

You see, Vinalia was a blessing of the wine harvest.

But, if Pagans blessed their wine harvest, does this mean Christians should not? Of course not.

Christ told his disciples to preach to all Creation. Or every Creature.

Colossians 1: [23] If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister.

Now, Gospel cannot be preached to wine so as to make it a believer, but rather so as to make it useful and not harmful to believers, at least insofar as they take some reasonable responsability of not drinking too much.

When St Francis preached to the birds, and they flew away in a Cross, I do not think many Theologians would say the birds had become believers or coinheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven. But they certainly helped to straighten out a few lukewarm believers who had been refusing to heed the sermon of St Francis.

And if wine is a creature of God, so can be done with wine. Even though that be done without usually involving the miraculous. Who recalls which miracle was the first one made by Our Lord Jesus Christ? If Calvin thought that blessing the wine involved participation in the Venus and Jupiter worship called Vinalia, perhaps he might also, unless he had been a Christian, in some sense though not the full sense, have been inclined to see in Our Lord an Incarnation of Bacchus, as Acharya sees in the Gospel of Cana a plagiarism of the Bacchus myth.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part ε
And with what face, pray, do they claim to be the successors of those who, they are told, were appointed to be preachers of the gospel? But though they are not ashamed to display their impudence, still with every reader of sound judgment this single word is sufficient to lay prostrate their silly hierarchy—that no man can be a successor of the apostles who does not devote his services to Christ in the preaching of the gospel.

This Catholic
Observes, that denying Papacy the title of successor of Apostles does not fix the lack of Apostolic Succession of Calvinism.

He really said "no man can be a successor of the apostles who does not devote his services to Christ in the preaching of the gospel"? If so, he must in the light of the very plain words of this Gospel text:

  • admit Papacy devoted its services to Christ in the preaching of the Gospel, or ...
  • look for another succession more unbroken than Roman Papacy (Greek and Russian and Antiochene Orthodox, not forgetting Roumanians, or Copts of Egypt or Ethiopia, or Armenians, or Nestorians) and after a few initial efforts on his own submit to it, or ...
  • admit the promise of Christ was broken and become a Jew, Moslem, Idolater, Atheist or whatever.

To do Calvinists some kind of justice, many of them have taken one or the other of these measures. One Ronald Knox, for instance, related to the Scottish Calvinist Reformer John Knox, became a Catholic and then a priest. Others have gone eastward, others apostasised. But the remaining Calvinists are illogical.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part ζ
In short, whoever does not fulfill the duties of a teacher acts wickedly and falsely by assuming the name of an apostle; and what is more—the priesthood of the New Testament consists in slaying men, as a sacrifice to God, by the spiritual sword of the word. Hence it follows, that all are but pretended and spurious priests who are not devoted to the office of teaching.
This Catholic
Observes that an allegation against Rome at the time of Calvin, insofar as it is concerned with possible hypocritical or simply lazy personal conduct on dignitarians, including Popes:

  • a) does not mean all the Catholic Church was corrupt, unless all bishops and all priests everywhere followed their bad example (which he might have tried to allege with false accusations against pious customs like blessing the wine), and supposing they did is ridiculous in face of all the Holy both Bishops and Priests, both Monks and Nuns (not to mention other religious or laymen) even in his time - since Papacy is the centre of Discipline, not of personal Holiness, these being not the same, but distinct though one serves the other;
  • b) does not extend to Popes of the past (though Calvin would have us believe so by mixing a hateful impression of the present with customs extending to the past), and therefore:
  • c) as in: conclusion) does not deprive Catholic Papacy, Episcopacy, Priesthood, Theological and Pastoral tradition of any claim to be precisely the true succession mentioned in these verses. But even if it did, would not give such a claim to Calvinism or any other product of the Reformation.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part η
Teach all nations. Here Christ, by removing the distinction, makes the Gentiles equal to the Jews, and admits both, indiscriminately to a participation in the covenant. Such is also the import of the term: go out; for the prophets under the law had limits assigned to them, but now,

the wall of partition having been broken down, (Ephesians 2:14,)

the Lord commands the ministers of the gospel to go to a distance, in order to spread the doctrine of salvation in every part of the world. For though, as we have lately suggested, the right of the first-born at the very commencement of the gospel, remained among the Jews, still the inheritance of life was common to the Gentiles. Thus was fulfilled that prediction of Isaiah, (Isaiah 49:6,) and others of a similar nature, that Christ was

given for a light of the Gentiles,
that he might be the salvation of God to the end of the earth.

Mark means the same thing by every creature; for when peace has been proclaimed to those that are within the Church, the same message reaches those who are at a distance, and were strangers, (Ephesians 2:17.)

This Catholic
Can not disagree with that part.
Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part θ
How necessary it was that the apostles should be distinctly informed of the calling of the Gentiles, is evident from this consideration, that even after having received the command, they felt the greatest horror at approaching them, as if by doing so they polluted themselves and their doctrine.
This Catholic
Observes there was a difference between them. St Peter was the one who best fits this description, more than one occasion, St Paul the least.
Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part ι
Baptizing them. Christ enjoins that those who have submitted to the gospel, and professed to be his disciples, shall be baptized; partly that their baptism may be a pledge of eternal life before God:, and partly that it may be an outward sign of faith before men. For we know that God testifies to us the grace of adoption by this sign, because he engrafts us into the body of his Son, so as to reckon us among his flock; and, therefore, not only our spiritual washing, by which he reconciles us to himself, but likewise our new righteousness, are represented by it. But as God, by this seal confirms to us his grace, so all who present themselves for baptism do, as it were, by their own signature, ratify their faith. Now since this charge is expressly given to the apostles along with the preaching of the word, it follows that none can lawfully administer baptism but those who are also the ministers of doctrine. When private persons, and even women, are permitted to baptize, nothing can be more at variance with the ordinance of Christ, nor is it any thing else than a mere profanation.
This Catholic
Observes a certain unease with Catholic terminology on the Regeneration by Baptism in Calvin's wording.

Does Calvin mean Baptism is only a sign in which God testifies the grace of adotion, or does he mean the sign efficiently (except for those who pose an obstacle) contains this grace?

The latter is the right Catholic Doctrine and indeed Dogma. It was, needlessly, wilfully, attacked by Luther, when it came to the Sacraments of the New Covenant in general. And this already in the 1517 affair.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part κ
Besides, as doctrine is placed first in order, this points out to us the true distinction between this mystery and the bastard rites of the Gentiles, by which they are initiated into their sacred mysteries; for the earthly element does not become a sacrament until God quickens it by his word.
This Catholic
Is frankly not quite sure what Calvin means. Of course the Gentiles have false rites with false sacraments. The Hebrews had empty rites or sacraments, which only signified the grace but did not contain it. The Catholics have true and lifegiving Sacraments of the New Covenant, which both signify and contain the grace. And neither among Patriarchs and Hebrews and Jews of the Old Covenant, while they were along, nor among Catholics in the New Covenant does anyone claim there can be a Sacrament without the word of God.
Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part λ
As superstition improperly counterfeits all the works of God, foolish men forge various sacraments at their pleasure; but as the word, which is the soul, is not in them, they are idle and unmeaning shadows. Let us therefore hold that the power of the doctrine causes the signs to assume a new nature; as the outward working of the flesh begins to be the spiritual pledge of regeneration, when it is preceded by the doctrine of the gospel; and this is the true consecration instead of which, Popery has introduced to us the enchantments of sorcery.
This Catholic
Seriously thinks Calvin had some kind of problem. Posing too much in rhetoric?

The Seven Sacraments are all of the Bible.

The Sacramentals (which the Church can add at pleasure, so for instance the sacramental of blessing wine is general in wine producing countries, and that of blessing fields in agriculture, as well as that of blessing fishing boats. The Church of Ethiopia has a blessing for the coffee, as it is harvested. But in all this, there is no straying away from the word of God, nor are Sacramentals erected into Sacraments, the blessings are not God chosen signs that contain the grace they signify and confer it to those posing no obstacle, they are rather prayers. Their efficacy - when efficacious - is that of God granting the prayers of the Church. And the prayers are formulated in accordance with the word of God.

Neither in the one, nor in the other, neither in Sacraments, nor in Sacramentals (like blessings) is there any sorcery whatsoever. Though doubtlessly that is how an infidel Jew would have characterised them. Perhaps especially if confronted with their efficacy without granting any slack to the Catholic religion.

That Calvin makes this charge, that Luther made it before him, make them suspect of being puppets of Jewry. If not of all Jewry, though I will not exclude that either, at least of those concerned with relations with Christians and taking secret decisions in the yeshivot.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part μ
Accordingly, it is said in Mark, He that shall believe and be baptized shall be saved. By these words Christ not only excludes from the hope of salvation hypocrites who, though destitute of faith, are puffed up only by the outward sign; but by a sacred bond he connects baptism with doctrine, so that the latter is nothing more than an appendage of the former.
This Catholic
Is also a Latinist. I feel wary about English translations of "latter" and "former" since Calvin in Latin did not use these words. "Hic" means the closer, thus "the latter" if said after, but rarely "the former" if said before what it refers to. "Ille" is the opposite.

This by itself is not the worst trouble. Word order can obscure which is which to unwary translators, though here the chiasmic order seems to indicate that this was not the case. Provided, of course, that the Latin words for baptism and doctrine came in the same order as in the English translation. I am not sure the English translation is correct. I shall here expose both possibilities (there are exactly two) and comment:

... by a sacred bond God connects baptism with doctrine, so that doctrine is nothing more than an appendage of baptism.

Doctrine is rather "an appendage" of the virtue of faith. Or rather, the first object of faith is trust in God revealing Christian doctrine. The second object of faith is the doctrine which God has revealed. And faith is not an appendage of baptism, but rather the gift, the principal grace of God given in baptism.

When a baby is carried to the Church door, the Sponsors are answering some questions, if the baptismal candidate can already answer for himself, he answers them:

Q: What do you ask of the Church?
A: Faith.
Q: What profiteth thee the Faith?
A: To eternal life.

So, the principal grace of Baptism is faith. A doctrine complete in catechism and summa theologica is a good extension of faith, but it is not an appendage. It is the secondary object, but in a true sense object of the faith. It remains itself whether it is little or much articulated.

If I really trust God who revealed all truth, then I also really believe it is true all round. Once I start asking questions, I start accumulating doctrine - and it had better be the true than the false one.

... by a sacred bond God connects baptism with doctrine, so that baptism is nothing more than an appendage of doctrine.

If by doctrine he means faith, well, in a sense he is right. Only in a sense. But I have already said in what sense doctrine as such as acquired by an individual is not identic to, but rather an extension of his virtue of faith - a divine virtue infused into his soul at baptism. So even the meaning is not clear.

But the problem is that he is only right in a sense. Baptism does not only give faith, but seals it. The seal of having a right and duty through God's promise to remain faithful or, if deviating, return to the faith, is more than the doctrinal content of the faith. Also, baptism does not give faith alone, it gives Sanctifying Grace, which comes with faith, hope and charity. The latter virtues are not doctrinal virtues, though they are virtues regulated according to sound Catholic doctrine.

So, whichever is the right translation, Calvin seems to have spoken with some clumsiness, to say the least. Considering he was a heretic, cut off from the Church, and in a certain sense even cut off from true worship of the one true God in three Persons, not by denying that mystery (see below), but by attributing to him a predestination of wicked acts, one should not be surprised he stumbles when defining the relation between faith and baptism. Or, if you prefer, falls.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part ν
But as Christ enjoins them to teach before baptizing, and desires that none but believers shall be admitted to baptism, it would appear that baptism is not properly administered unless when it is preceded by faith. On this pretense, the Anabaptists have stormed greatly against infant baptism.
This Catholic
If baptism were truly just a sign of a grace which God could without breach of His own covenant withhold from those who nevertheless received the sign in a right manner (right inwardly as well as outwardly), if it were a mere appendage to doctrine, then the Anabaptist conclusion would logically follow.

In the answer he gives to Anabaptism, he will be using Catholic arguments, though not purely so, perhaps, but not showing how these agree with what has just been uttered about the nature of Baptism, the nature of Sacraments.

As I just gave Anabaptism as one logical fruit of Reformers, I will now, before going on, give one root.


If there was an age of Renaissance, in the sense of revival of Antiquity, and that revival was concerned with Aristotle as a clear thinker, this Renaissance was NOT the one usually called Renaissance, it was rather taking place late 11th/12th to early 13th Century, and St Thomas Aquinas was its glorious fruit, of good seed, just as Averroism was its bad fruit, of tares. But the Renaissance we are here concerned with was rather concerned with Cicero and Demosthenes as great speakers, politicians, lawyers. When it went Philosophical, it was often Platonic, but not so much the logic of the Socratic dialogues as the even most spurious conclusions of Plotinus. But the main gist was Rhetoric. Now, its good fruit was St Thomas More, but its bad fruit was Calvin and Luther. How did it carry these?

A Christian studying Cicero to talk well, was hardly very interested in learning all about how Cicero had sacrificed a sow, a sheep and an ox. That was not his model. His model was Cicero whipping himself, like a good actor (hypocrites in Greek means actor) into an artificial anger about Verres or Catilina. When he came back to Christian stuff, what seemed closer to his Ciceronian modelling was of course doctrine and moral indignation (and the Old Testament prophets showed much of that, St Elijah could say in one sentence what Cicero took a Pharisaically long time to say:

Quousque tandem, Catilina, adhuc abutere patientia nostra, quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?

And there he had only asked how long and far Catilina was intending to take his abuse of patience and his audacity. Not what it consisted in. Even Isaiah is more concise.) So, getting on from there to studying the Ritual of the Catholic Church was perhaps a deception to some such prepared. That is one reason why I have said the basic preparation had better be Trivium and Quadrivium, as studied by St Thomas, than only the Litterae Humaniores as studied by St Thomas More - and by this sad heretic Calvin.

But he seems really to have felt (if I may venture a guess) he was doing the good work of the model Cicero when preaching this way, and he was attacking Catholic priests who, in having at all a ritual, were continuing the sorcery in which Cicero as a Pagan was also involved.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part ξ
But the reply is not difficult, if we attend to the reason of the command. Christ orders them to convey to all nations the message of eternal salvation, and confirms it by adding the seal of baptism. Now it was proper that faith in the word should be placed before baptism, since the Gentiles were altogether alienated from God, and had nothing in common with the chosen people; for otherwise it would have been a false figure, which offered forgiveness and the gift of the Spirit to unbelievers, who were not yet members of Christ. But we know that by faith those who were formerly despised are united to the people of God.

It is now asked, on what condition does God adopt as children those who formerly were aliens? It cannot, indeed, be denied that, when he has once received them into his favor, he continues to bestow it on their children and their children’s children. By the coming of Christ God manifested himself as a Father equally to the Gentiles and to the Jews; and, therefore, that promise, which was formerly given to the Jews, must now be in force towards the Gentiles,

I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed after thee, (Genesis 17:7.)

Thus we see that they who entered by faith into the Church of God are reckoned, along with their posterity, among the members of Christ, and, at the same time, called to the inheritance of salvation. And yet this does not involve the separation of baptism from faith and doctrine; because, though infants are not yet of such an age as to be capable of receiving the grace of God by faith, still God, when addressing their parents, includes them also. I maintain, therefore, that it is not rash to administer baptism to infants, to which God invites them, when he promises that he will be their God.
This Catholic
Finds the general reason quite correct. Details are faulty. It is suggested, by omitting a somewhat more roundabout but correct alternative, that Christian babies are saved through the faith of the parents.

Not so, it is the faith of the Church.

Even as to human givers of the faith, insofar as it happens regularly through baptism, these are not parents, who are usually only fostering the faith after baptism. The ones who transmit the faith or demand its transmission as faithful, are priest baptising (in cases of necessity even laymen may baptise) and the sponsors. That is why to incest in the ordinary sense there is added a spiritual incest, in that marriage with a sponsor is incestuous, just as marriage with a parent is.

But it is true, the Church is a True People of God now, as Israel was in the times of Moses. The one fact justified why children where, if males, circumcised. The other justifies why children are now baptised. And since there are not two peoples of God, Israel andthe Church are really the same thing. Note, the Synagogue that rejected Christ is not the same as the one or as the other and is not the People of God.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part ο
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This passage shows that the full and clear knowledge of God, which had been but darkly shadowed out under the Law and the Prophets, is at length fully discovered under the reign of Christ. True, indeed, the ancients would never have ventured to call God their Father, if they had not derived this assurance from Christ their Head; and the Eternal Wisdom of God, who is the fountain of light and life, was not wholly unknown to them. It was even one of their acknowledged principles, that God displays his power by the Holy Spirit. But at the commencement of the gospel God was far more clearly revealed in Three Persons; for then the Father manifested himself in the Son, his lively and distinct image, while Christ, irradiating the world by the full splendor of his Spirit, held out to the knowledge of men both himself and the Spirit.

This Catholic
Mainly concurs on this one.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 19 part π
There are good reasons why the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are expressly mentioned; for there is no other way in which the efficacy of baptism can be experienced than when we begin with the unmerited mercy of the Father, who reconciles us to himself by the only begotten Son; next, Christ comes forward with the sacrifice of his death; and at length, the Holy Spirit is likewise added, by whom he washes and regenerates us, (Titus 3:5,) and, in short, makes us partakers of his benefits. Thus we perceive that God cannot be truly known, unless our faith distinctly conceive of Three Persons in one essence; and that the fruit and efficacy of baptism proceed from God the Father adopting us through his Son, and, after having cleansed us from the pollutions of the flesh through the Spirit: creating us anew to righteousness.
This Catholic
Finds the idea somewhat suspect of Modalism. Perhaps I am over anxious about it.

Of course, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit make things about Creation together, which nevertheless are attributed to one person rather than the other. Like sanctification to God the Holy Spirit. Thus, usually, we attribute to the Father creating us, to the Son redeeming us (but this is not an atribution in that sense, since it was only the Second Person who took flesh) and the Holy Ghost sanctifying us.

But the wording could give room to a suspicion a single person one-god were simply masked in these different "functions". Especially as these attributions are not the reason or not the main reason why God is here giving the Triune name. But Calcin gives these attributions as "good reasons" for giving it in order to "experience" the efficacy of Baptism.

Also, apart from question of Modalism, the efficacy of Baptism does not depend on its being experienced by the baptised person.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part α
Matthew 28:20.Teaching them to observe all things. By these words, as I have formerly suggested, Christ shows that, in sending the apostles, he does not entirely resign his office, as if he ceased to be the Teacher of his Church; for he sends away the apostles with this reservation, that they shall not bring forward their own inventions, but shall purely and faithfully deliver from hand to hand (as we say) what he has entrusted to them.
This Catholic
Can testify that on this point the Catholic Church agrees completely. Here - for once among so many errors and inaccuracies - or for once again, rather - Calvin hit the nail.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part β
Would to God that the Pope would subject to this rule the power which he claims for himself; for we would easily permit him to be the successor of Peter or of Paul, provided that he did not usurp a tyrannical dominion over our souls. But as he has set aside the authority of Christ, and infects the Church with his childish fooleries, this shows plainly enough how widely he has departed from the apostolic office. In short, let us hold that by these words teachers are appointed over the Church, not to put forward whatever they may think proper, but that they, as well as others, may depend on the mouth of the Master alone, so as to gain disciples for him, and not for themselves.

This Catholic
Finds that Calvin was very inaccurate about Papacy back then. But starting to look more and more accurate as a prophet about the Bergoglio pseudo-papacy. In fact, Bergoglio's friend Tony Palmer might feel indebted to Calvin for his choice not to be a Papist. And Bergoglio by the twitter account, given an indulgence for those following it, by the "follow the Pope in the Holy Land" ads, by tolerating a fan club to stand listening with a banderolle "Francesco, sei Unico" and still stand and wave, and by similar means, could be illustrating Calvin's point, hoping to provoke a disgust with the Papacy. In me he has provoked a disgust with his person.

For Pius IV or St Pius V were doing none of these things.

Now, let us cite one Creationist and Protestant - Lubenow - on Church History, and see where infidelity is coming from and who is defening the integrity of Christ's message:

One of the first serious statements of the pre-Adamite concept was by Isaac de la Peyrere, a Jewish convert to Catholicism from Bordeaux, who in 1655 published a book, Systema Theologicum ex Prae-Adamitarum Hypothesi. Peyrere argued that the Biblical Adam was of pre-Adamite stock, and was the father of only the Jews. Cain’s wife and the inhabitants of Cain’s city, as well as the Gentiles, were of other pre-Adamite stock and were not descended from the Biblical Adam. Peyrere questioned miracles and the doctrine of Original Sin. To explain the existence of pre-Adamite Gentiles living after the Flood, he held that the Flood was a local event. Because of his doctrinal defects, the Catholic Church declared Peyrere to be a heretic. He was forced to make a public recantation before Pope Alexander VII. However, Peyrere continued to hold the pre-Adamite view for the rest of his life.

Pre-Adamites, sin, death and the human fossils
by Marvin L. Lubenow

So Peyrère is defending the pre-Adamite error (indeed heresy if you consider any anatomical humans seen today as pre-Adamites, condemned again by Pius XII in Humani Generis) and Peyrère is of Jewish origin, has lived in Jewish practise before converting to the Catholic faith. Alexander VII is Orthodox on the matter, he makes Peyrère recant, and he is the Pope. The same Papacy that Calvin accused of not staying faithful to the doctrine of Christ. Go figure!

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part γ
And, lo, I am with you always. As Christ gave to the apostles a commission which they were unable to discharge by reliance on merely human power, he encourages them by the assurance of his heavenly protection.

This Catholic
Notes this is correct as far as it goes.

But Calvin conspicuously here leaves out considering the word "always", and a little lower he misses the point.

Yes, we are drawing near the end now.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part δ
For before promising that he would be with them, he began with declaring that he is the, King of heaven and earth, who governs all things by his power and authority.

This Catholic
Notes that this is correct. As I already noted previous occasion he said it.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part ε
The pronoun I must be viewed as emphatic; as if he had said that the apostles, if they wished zealously to perform their duty, must not consider what they are able to do, but must rely on the invincible power of those under whose banner they fight.

This Catholic
Notes that this also is correct.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part ζ
The nature of that presence which the Lord promises to his followers ought to be understood spiritually; for it is not necessary that he should descend from heaven in order to assist us, since he can assist us by the grace of his Spirit, as if he stretched out his hand from heaven. For he who, in respect of his body, is at a great distance from us, not only diffuses the efficacy of his Spirit through the whole world, but even actually dwells in us.

This Catholic
Balks back!

Here Calvin sees a promise of the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, and he takes an opportunity to deny the same Real Presence.

Yes, under its own dimensions, the Blessed Body of Our Lord is indeed far away, beyond the fixed stars, and you can ask astronomers how many hundreds of thousands or even millions or perhaps billions of miles there are of bodies that circle the Sun and are thus nearer than the fixed stars. But under the dimensions of Bread and Wine, the same Blessed Body with its Precious Blood are at the nearest altar where a Holy Mass is validly celebrated. And in the nearest Tabernacle, where the Body of Christ is preserved between Holy Mass and such Communions as are given outside Holy Mass. A stranger makes a confession three o'clock in the afternoon and does not know if he will be able to stay for Holy Mass next morning - or simply because he has long been away from Christ, the priest will not tell him he must only communicate in Holy Mass, but will give him communion after confession.

Or a man lies dying three o' clock in the morning, the priest comes to visit him, he takes, of course the Blessed Presence, promised sufficiently clearly in this last verse of St Matthew's Gospel and more directly in other places, from the Tabernacle to give the dying man after absolution.

The position of Calvin is perfidious.

Thereby we do not deny that Christ is ALSO present through the Holy Spirit sent to the Church, but it is perfidy to limit the Presence to the spiritual manner alone.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part η
Even to the end of the world. It ought likewise to be remarked, that this was not spoken to the apostles alone; for the Lord promises his assistance not for a single age only, but even to the end of the world.

This Catholic
Notes a mingling of true and false.

Calvin's "not to the apostles alone" is correct if given as meaning to the apostles with their successors, and through both themselves and their successors to all faithful in communion with them. And this sense he is giving by the truthful clause: "for the Lord promises his assistance not for a single age only, but even to the end of the world."

But Calvin also uses, apparently, see below, "not to the apostles alone" as meaning "to all true faithful without any distinction between clergy and laymen, or between episcopal and presbyteral orders of clergy", and herein he is disingenious, for some verses before this one it is clearly stated that Christ adressed these words to the Eleven, i e those who were left of the Twelve He had previously chosen after the apostasy of Judas the traitor.

The promise is directly to the Eleven with successors, and indirectly to faithful in communion with their bishops.

If Calvin believed the Rome of his time had become like Judas, it was his duty to believe nevertheless there were true and rightbelieving bishops somewhere, "for the Lord promises his assistance not for a single age only, but even to the end of the world." And that, of course, without any interruption, like a supposed such between Calvin's own time and that of his predecessors, and back to a supposed post-Apostolic great apostasy. No, not for a single age only, nor with any interruptoion between ages.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part θ
It is as if he had said, that though the ministers of the gospel be weak and suffer the want of all things: he will be their guardian, so that they will rise victorious over all the opposition of the world.

This Catholic
Finds this true.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part ι
In like manner, experience clearly shows in the present day, that the operations of Christ are carried on wonderfully in a secret manner, so that the gospel surmounts innumerable obstacles.

This Catholic
The operations of Christ were carried on wonderfully in an open manner, when Jesuit missionaries (not forgetting earlier Dominicans and Franciscans) overcame innumerable obstacles to bring the Catholic Gospel to Philippines of Japan, to India or China, to Hurons or Paraguay, to Hispaniola or Perú, to México or Brazil, to Moçambique or Bom Bahía.

Christ loves His Church to operate in the open. As to secrecy, that is Satan's favourite tool. And Calvin hoped to keep certain details of how Calvin's work spread secret, and it did not remain so. The spirit of rhetoric as being the spirit of Renaissance, is one such little secret.

Quoting Calvin's exposition of Verse 20 part κ
So much the more intolerable is the wickedness of the Popish clergy, when they take this as a pretext for their sacrilege and tyranny. They affirm that the Church cannot err, because it is governed by Christ; as if Christ, like some private soldier, hired himself for wages to other captains, and as if he had not, on the contrary, reserved the entire authority for himself, and declared that he would defend his doctrine, so that his ministers may confidently expect to be victorious over the whole world.

This Catholic
Notes first that Calvin was aware that Catholicism saw the same implications back then as now in these verses.

Then he gives a correct citation of "Popish" doctrine:

They affirm that the Church cannot err, because it is governed by Christ

Well, exactly. That is what Christ promised here. It is also stated by Saint Paul, when he says "the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth". But Calvin, not wanting to get it, and being as good a rhetor as he is a bad believer in the promises of Christ, gives a false comparison:

as if Christ, like some private soldier, hired himself for wages to other captains

If captains claim to be obeying the correct orders of the general, what use is it for a simple soldier to ask "did the general become your hired soldier to take orders from you?" if he is not content with the orders given?

as if he had not, on the contrary, reserved the entire authority for himself, and declared that he would defend his doctrine, so that his ministers may confidently expect to be victorious over the whole world.

He has indeed reserved the entire authority to Himself in such a manner as his ministers are bound by His authority, accessed in Holy Writ (expounded more faithfully than Calvin did with these verses!) and Tradition (this latter entity comprising practises not directly found in Holy Writ, though none unsupported by it, and mostly a tradition of exposing the Holy Writ in one and same sense). But He has not reserved the entire authority to Himself in such a manner as not to share it with His lawful ministers, those Eleven, their lawful successors in Episcopal Office, those lawfully appointed by them. On the contrary, He shows that He has so shared His authority by the very fact of chosing the Eleven as the direct hearers of this promise.

Hans Georg Lundahl
BpI, Georges Pompidou
Saint Antonio Maria Zaccaria, Confessor