fredag 18 december 2015

Against Ray Ryland (and Calvin) : How God Revealed Exodus and Other Parts of Holy Writ, and What Hardening of Pharao's Heart Meant

Ray Ryland is supposed to be a Catholic priest (I don't known if he was ordained before or after new pontifical of Montini*, nor if this is certain to make ordinations invalid) and he is certainly in good standing with some bishop (or sham bishop, see previous aside) who is in good standing with Bergoglio*. He has produced a book of Apologetics. In itself this is a laudable thing.

Ray Ryland: Catholic Q&A: Essentials of the Faith Explained Kindle Edition

Below quotes are from a preview, but here is first one from the description, on Amazon:

This is a compilation of Fr. Ryland's column that appeared from 2004 through 2014 in The Catholic Answer magazine, published by Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN 46750. The 676 questions came from Catholics, Protestants, and non-Christians who wanted a better understanding of the Catholic faith.

Compilations are good - I encourage paper publishing compilations of my blogs. But they are good if the texts are good.

A certain topic on which Father Ryland is misleading rather than good (perhaps there aren't many of them) is the inerrancy of Old Testament. The below quotes, as said, have been copied by eye and hand after reading them in the preview. I will comment on each.

The ancient Hebrew people apparently considered that that had only one way to avoid being corrupted spiritually and morally by the peoples surrounding them. That was to destroy these peoples. So in their warfare they were striving for a good end -- to be faithful witnesses to God's revelation -- but by tragically erroneous means. Only gradually did God bring them to realize ("zic"!) that they should seek to convert, and not to destroy, their spiritual enemies.

In Holy Writ we are not told of what the ancient Hebrew people "apparently considered", but what it was commanded to do by God.

Another example of the Hebrew people's gradual embrace of God's truth is in marriage practise. We know that from the beginning of the human race God intended a monogamous, lifelong union of those called to marriage. Yet for a long time the ancient Hebrews practised polygamy. It was not until about the eighth century before Christ that monogamous marriage finally became the norm for the Hebrew people.

God had dispensations, and those who used the dispensation allowing (though not commanding) polygamy were back then not sinning.

Jesus Christ RESTORED marriage to its pristine dignity, he did not just reaffirm sth forgotten and neglected.

Also, what the standard of marriage was in OT times, monogamous or polygamous, we do not know from Holy Bible, though we are told of polygamous people (King David, King Solomon). We do not know how typical or exceptional they were in being at all polygamous. Of course they werre exceptionally polygamous even for being polygamous, these two, but we do not know how usual it was to have two wives and how usual it was to have only one. We are not given statistics. Indeed, statistics are forbidden in one passage.

Of the patriarchs, Abraham had three wives (if you count Hagar as in a way one), of which the third was only after he was a widower, Isaac one, Jacob two or four (depending on whether the servants of Rachel and Lea count as wives), Judah at least two, of which the second had been legally but not fulfilledly the wife of two of his sons, Joseph one wife (who may have been his niece and only adopted by Potiphar), Lot was intentionally monogamous and accidentally trigamous, incestuously so, of which not he, but only his misguided daughters have the blame. I think these are the only men of whom we know how many wives they had and we know there were way more. Abraham at one point had 318 men (and gematria has been done whether this refers to TIH (Cross of IHCOYC) or to Eliezer, both of which add up to 318), and Jacob in Egypt had about seventy people around him.

So, even back when stats of monogamy, bigamy and polygamy would have been feasible, they are not given.

The polygamy, though in law tolerated, may have been back then more like a royal and nobility privilege.

The Old Testament consistently ascribes directly to God everything that happens -- even at times human sin, as in the hardening of the Pharaoh's heart (see Ex 7:3-5). I believe that in the process of unfolding revelation, this was the sacred writers' best understanding of God's providence at that time.

Is this really what Ryland makes of Biblical inerrancy?

It is preposterous!

Holy Text:
Exodus 7:3 But I shall harden his heart, and shall multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.

4 And he will not hear you: and I will lay my hand upon Egypt, and will bring forth my army and my people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt, by very great judgments.

5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, who have stretched forth my hand upon Egypt, and have brought forth the children of Israel out of the midst of them.

Own first note:
The sacred writer, in all probability (or certainty of faith, by tradition) Moses himself, is here testifying as to what God Himself told Moses!

Whatever God harding Pharao's heart may mean, it is certainly not an "incorrect but best available guess" from a writer who had not spoken to God himself.

Now to what God can really have meant, and here I let the Church speak:

Haydock comment:
Ver. 3. I shall harden, &c.; not by being the efficient cause of his hardness of heart, but by permitting it; and by withdrawing grace from him, in punishment of his malice; which alone was the proper cause of his being hardened. (Challoner - an English Catholic bishop, quoted by Haydock)

He took occasion even from the miracles to become more obdurate. (Haydock - compiler of the Haydock comment, but also author of some remarks himself)

Yet Pharao was less impious than Calvin, for he takes the sin to himself, chap. ix. 27. (Tirinus - Jacobus Tirinus (1580–1636) was a Belgian Jesuit Biblical scholar. His major work is the Commentarius in Sacram Scripturam, a Bible commentary in two volumes from 1645. Here quoted by Haydock)

Holy Text as cited by Tirinus
EXODUS - Chapter 9:27 And Pharao sent and called Moses and Aaron, saying to them: I have sinned this time also, the Lord is just: I and my people, are wicked.

And what was the reference to Calvin?
Calvin on Exodus 7:Verse 3

3.And I will harden. As the expression is somewhat harsh, many commentators, as I have before said, take pains to soften it. Hence it is that some take the words in connection, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart by multiplying my signs;” as if God were pointing out the external cause of his obstinacy. But Moses has already declared, and will hereafter repeat it, that the king’s mind was hardened by God in other ways besides His working miracles. As to the meaning of the words, I have no doubt that, by the first clause, God armed the heart of His servant with firmness, to resist boldly the perversity of the tyrant; and then reminds him that he has the remedy in his hand. Thus, then, I think this passage must be translated, “I indeed will harden Pharaoh’s heart, but I will multiply my signs;” as though He had said, his hardness will be no obstacle to you, for the miracles will be sufficient to overcome it. In the same sense, He adds immediately afterwards, “Although Pharaoh should not hear you, still I will lay on my hand;” for thus, in my opinion, the conjunctions should be resolved adversatively I do not altogether reject the interpretation of others; “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that I may multiply my signs;” and, “He (78) will not hearken unto you, that I may lay on my hand.” And, in fact, God willed that Pharaoh should pertinaciously resist Moses, in order that the deliverance of the people might be more conspicuous. There is, however, no need of discussing at length the manner in which God hardens reprobates, as often as this expression occurs. Let us hold fast to what I have already observed, that they are but poor speculators who refer it to a mere bare permission; because if God, by blinding their minds, or hardening their hearts, inflicts deserved punishment upon the reprobate, He not only permits them to do what they themselves please, but actually executes a judgment which He knows to be just. Whence also it follows, that He not only withdraws the grace of His Spirit, but delivers to Satan those whom he knows to be deserving of blindness of mind and obstinacy of heart. Meanwhile, I admit that the blame of either evil rests with the men themselves, who willfully blind themselves, and with a willfulness which is like madness, are driven, or rather rush, into sin. I have also briefly shewn what foul calumniators are they, who for the sake of awakening ill-will against us, pretend that God is thus made to be the author of sin; since it would be an act of too great absurdity to estimate His secret and incomprehensible judgments by the little measure of our own apprehension. The opponents of this doctrine foolishly and inconsiderately mix together two different things, since the hardness of heart is the sin of man, but the hardening of the heart is the judgment of God. He again propounds in this place His great judgments, in order that the Israelites may expect with anxious and attentive minds His magnificent and wonderful mode of operation.

So, Pharao was LESS impious than Calvin
We have now seen how, insofar as Calvin says God himself MADE Pharao sin or MADE Satan take control of his actions, rather than permitted him to sin.

But it might seem Calvin was LESS impious than "Father" Ryland (I reserve Father for good Catholic priests), who actually denies the veracity of the text and denies these words were God's and also attributes to the Hebrew faithful back in those days a misunderstanding about the matter as gross as that of Calvin.

Pharao had already chosen what sin he was going to commit. God permitted him to be untroubled by grace and guardian angels about going ahead. This was indeed God judging Pharao, but not chosing for Pharao.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Sts Rufus and Zosimus, Martyrs

* By those accepting them as Popes, Montini and Bergoglio are usually referred to as "Paul VI" and "Pope Francis".

måndag 9 november 2015

In defense of Jay Dyer's Objections from Back Then

1) Creation vs. Evolution : CMI and Reformers, *sigh* , 2) Great Bishop of Geneva! : 2 Timothy 3:16, 3) HGL's F.B. writings : With Matt Singleton on LXX/"Apocrypha" and on liquor in moderation, 4) Great Bishop of Geneva! : In defense of Jay Dyer's Objections from Back Then

Jay Dyer
Though I am a sinner, I believe God’s deifying grace had brought me to this truth. Such arguments, by God’s grace, have already led to the conversion of many of my learned friends from Protestantism.

Bible Smack
It is interesting that jay affirms that Protestantism though heretical, imparts grace. Why has God imparted more grace through heresy, if EOC is true? Because Protestantism has covered more of the world, after all.

My comment
Where exactly is he affirming Protestantism was imparting grace?

[Sorry, missed earlier part of quote than the part I quoted.]

St Eustace pleased God before God Made Flesh appeared to him and converted him. But surely it was not Paganism IN which Eustace was living FROM which he got the grace, rather he got the grace FROM God even while living IN a Paganism which of itself does not dispense it.

Similarily with those living in Protestantism, if God touches them.

The geographic argument is one which works out for Roman Catholicism, actually. Where exactly do you get a Protestant Missionary where there hasn't been a Catholic one before? Not very many places. Not very great peoples.

Unless you would say that Catholics failed to evangelise Kabyls and now Pentecostals are doing the job, even so, Kabyls descend from the people who in St Augustine's day were Catholics.

[Here I catch up on what was referred to:]

However, he spoke about Protestant baptisms being valid. A Protestant baptism when valid is NOT of Protestantism, just as a Protestant Bible in its correctly translated verses is also not OF Protestantism. The Lord's Prayer remains the Lord's Prayer, even if a Protestant is the one you learn it from.

These things, according to RC theology (as much as his version of EO, there are divisions on such matters, notably baptism among non-EO) are not Protestantism providing grace, they are grace working through an inimical and alien Protestantism, despite what is wrong in it.

Bible Smack
But also notice how "God's deifying Grace had brought me to this truth"? Jay assumes that he has a transcendent knowledge which gives Him a truth which others can not obtain.

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

So the idea of "hidden knowledge" or gnostcism is an immoral agent when used extensively.

My comment
Grace is not a question of hidden knowledge, but of being touched by the knowledge available. Some aren't, not because knowledge be not available to them, but because they refuse to look.

John 6:66
And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father.

Christ was not hidden. But Pharisees were not taken a good look, neither were the ex-disciples who were walking away from him. But all the facts they needed were there.

So is it also with this question.

In order to know the canon, we need the Tradition of the Church. We will return to it.

Note also, the ban on "hidden knowledge" (as in knowledge obtainably from only non-public traditions), it is an excellent response to the claims of the Baptist Continuity Scenario, or those claiming Foxe had access to a real oral tradition linking both Albigensians and Valdensians to early Church.

Jay Dyer
"1. The First and Major Error: the Protestant Canon of Scripture.

"My first argument is that if the Protestant has the wrong canon, then his claim of sola scriptura is completely groundless and falls flat. Let me preface this by saying we believe in soli verbum Dei, the Word of God alone, not Scripture alone. The Divine Logos is a living Person (Heb. 4:12, John 5:39), not a book, though the written Revelation of Himself in the canonical Scriptures is inerrant and infallible. It is not, as will be demonstrated below, the sole means of knowing Christ and obtaining infallibly true religious propositions."

Bible Smack
So Jay is really putting forth his basic thesis and theology of scripture. The Word of God alone but not scripture alone.

My comment
Correct analysis. And this is the position, not just of EO, not just of EO and RC, but also for Jacobite Monophysites, also for Armenian Monophysites, also for Nestorians, not failing to mention Old Catholics and High Church Anglicans. In other words, all bodies who have anything like a realistic claim to be the unbroken line of the Church of God, and even some where the claim seems very spurious (and is declared so by the RCC), like Anglicans and Old Catholics.

Bible Smack
Let us see two important passages

matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

2 timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for ins truction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

So I want to point your attention to What Christ says about the Word of God. Man shall live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God. So we need to get the complete revelation of God's Word. But Paul teaches that the scripture may make the man of God perfect.(Here perfect simply means complete.)

How can the scripture make us complete when the scripture does not contain the complete revelation of God's Word? It is obviously a contradiction to hold this line of thinking alongside scripture.

My comment
He is not saying "Scripture (and only that) makes us complete", he is saying "when it comes to make us complete, no part of Scripture is superfluous".

I am sorry, but it is not my fault that Pastor Matt Singleton lacks reading skills necessary to grasp the otherwise pretty obvious meaning of 2 Tim 3:16-17.

A little hint is that the words "That the man of God may be perfect" contain the English words "that" and "may", which in Latin correspond to "ut" and subjunctive (in the case of "may be" in stead of "is" or "becomes", it is "sit" and not "est" or "fit").

The original Greek text, though my Greek is a lot rustier than my Latin, since I studied both, has a similar nicety, no doubt.

But not only that. Scripture is here talked of as a completion, not as a foundation. That is, before a "man of God" is completed by Scripture, he may well have become so in the first place by some OTHER instruction, like oral or Q and A type Catechism. And that OTHER instruction is ALSO of the Church. And that PREVIOUS instruction would certainly shape how that man of God viewed Scripture. Among RC no less than among Protestants, Hebrews being invoked by BOTH sides in the controversy on Holy Mass.

The difference is that a Protestant going with a previous understanding that "Hebrews condemns the RC doctrine of Mass being a Sacrifice" (a question begging argument if you mean Hebrews 9, since the RC doctrine allows for singularity of Calvary Sacrifice by claiming Mass is SAME sacrifrice, not other), while the Catholic goes to it with a previous understanding "Hebrews tells us what the Sacrifice of the Mass is" (it is for instance not an utterly other sacrifice than that of Calvary, it is not an addition to it).

Both read Hebrews, both remain convinced of being right, and one of them has to be reading Hebrews wrong.

Even supposing that Protestants were right in supposing Bible alone (in this question text of Hebrews) could settle the question, Protestants are not actually getting "Bible alone" through being spared the traditional RC filter. They are getting, generally speaking, Bible seen through the non-permanent-tradition, five-hundred-years-ago-revolutionary filter of Protestantism.

And five hundred years ago revolutionary amounts to now traditional. And clearly not extant 600 years ago amounts to not continuously from Apostles, which amounts to man made. The Protestant filter is actually precisely a man made tradition.

Note that there is a difference between "clearly not extant 600 years ago" (because if so it would not have been revolutionary about 500 years ago, which everyone agrees it was) and "not clearly extant 600 years ago" or "not clearly extant everywhere 600 years ago". This is to distinguish my method from that used by Protestants who say "I can't find Sacrifice of Mass in Tertullian" (except you can) or "St Augustine's works against Pelagius or on Genesis according to the Letter, Twelve Books, are not quite specific that Mass is a Sacrifice, one could interpret it otherwise" (more probably I should have taken St Ambrose's De Mysteriis).

I believe those who DID get to Hebrews without either filter would by now (in an age no longer drenched in Renaissance rhetoric) probably even from Hebrews be able to lean to Catholicism, even more so if comparing to Malachi 1:11, and if looking up the clear cross reference to Melchisedec in Hebrews.

But going to Scripture before getting instruction from Church is a little like trying to get the top of the house before the foundation is laid. While it may keep out the rain, it is not quite steady without foundation. And when it comes to foundation of truth, Scripture is VERY specific. It is not "Scripture" but Church.

1 Timothy 3:15 Si autem tardavero, ut scias quomodo oporteat te in domo Dei conversari, quae est ecclesia Dei vivi, columna et firmamentum veritatis.

One letter earlier, one verse earlier in chapter three. The hint is so broad, if you miss it, you will miss a barn at three feet distance.

Oh, in English:

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Next verse is also referring to Oral Tradition:

And evidently great is the mystery of godliness, which was manifested in the flesh, was justified in the spirit, appeared unto angels, hath been preached unto the Gentiles, is believed in the world, is taken up in glory.

"hath been preached"

Not "written and read", but "preached". You cited one book later for an otherwise comparable verse. 1 Tim 3, verses 15-16 come before 2 Tim 3 verses 16-17. If you don't get the hint, I still do.

Jay Dyer
"A detailed response to the major Protestant myths concerning the DC, which is what is required, are ably dealt with in this article of mine. I cite only conservative, respected Protestant scholars of various flavors."

Bible Smack
The problem is the whole label "protestantism" is actual catholic. Ultimately it is a straw man. If he wants to debated evangelical theology then that is fine. But some have used the term protestant as a name to call any non-catholic and therefore set up a straw man.

My comment
Not at all.

The label "Protestantism" is NOT a straw man. It includes all who DO have one specific relation to Roman Catholic Church and Tradition : having their Bible ultimately or mainly FROM it, and claiming it got it wrong. That a reformation was needed.

Oh, Evangelicals and Calvinists may be very divergent about what exact reformation was needed. But they claim one was needed. They and Lutherans are divided on WHAT one should keep from Martin Luther, but they agree one should keep something from him.

And more specifically, from his rebellion against the Catholic Church.

Evangelicals are a brand of Baptists, more specifically a brand of usually free will Baptists. They differ from other free will baptists by not being clearly Modernist and tended to differ from Fundamentalists by being freer about historic senses of OT, now however they tend to coalesce with Fundamentalists (unless I got that part of Protestant history wrong). Free will Baptists and also Baptist Union (which if I get it right tends to free will, but is less opposed to Calvinism) go back to one of the two original sects of Baptists, namely an Arminian and a Calvinist faction thinking they should now reform also baptism according to the example of the Mennonites.

Arminians and Calvinists are Zwingli-Oecolampadius branch of Protestantism, diverging on how much they should take from Luther's De Servo Arbitrio. Mennonites are the Münzer branch of Protestantism, with a difference of being unlike Münzer pacifists (like Moravians differ from the Ziska line of Hussites, in being, unlike Ziska, pacifists).

So, the actual founders of two early forms of "Baptism" in 17th C go back through 16th C. Arminius or through 16th C. Calvin to early 16th C. Zwingli and Oecolampadius, and they go back through Menno to Münzer. And in 1517, Luther, Zwingli and Oecolampadius, Münzer AND the two Sozzini, ALL went back to having previous year been Catholic, which is where they got the Bible from. Similar things can be said about ANY Protestant sect. They can NOT exactly be said about EO or Nestorians.

EO claim "early Church was less Papal than RC, we are just continuing it". The biography of Photius gives them a lie, because in it they claim that Pope Zacharias rescinded the Constantinople IV which had condemned Photius and convoked another Constantinople IV which is the real one, i e they claim that as Pope he had a right to rescind what had been accepted (though not by the faction of Photius) as an Ecumenical Council. But no RC is saying that Photius was a Latin who got a Vulgate from Rome and then decided to make his own translation into Greek. We very clearly admit he had the Greek text of NT and not from the text transmission in Rome in centuries closely previous to his own. We admit his episcopal consecration was by a bishop who had enjoyed some independence of Rome greater than that of Latin bishops. We say he innovated, but we also say he was in a position at least to pretend that he was just following tradition, as it had come to him, while all agree, even Protestants, that Luther was not doing so.

for here at least, the discussion of specific passages.

Note that Jay's method is the same as when Protestants argue Christ and the Apostles accepted the Old Testament.

Whether his passages are probative or not, they are an answer to what Protestants usually do when arguing that Christ and Apostles accepted canonical but not deuterocanonical books.

Jay Dyer
"Thus, we see that the NT writers clearly had no Protestant dislike of the Deuterocanon (from now on DC). I fact, it is well known that many early Protestant vernaculars contained still contained the DC Books, or at least some of them, such as the early King James and the original Geneva Bible. Who, then, is right on the canon? Who has the full written Word of God? If a Protestant cannot give a cogent account as to what constitutes canonicity, who makes that decision, and the historical events that makeup canonicity, then he continue to claim sola scriptura as a viable principle. It might simply be asked, why follow Luther in rejecting them? Luther himself admitted he had theological reasons for rejecting them. But that begs the question—to reject the DC because it doesn’t fit with “the Word of God,” as many Protestants do, is merely presupposing you already have the correct canon. But that’s what is in question. If you do not even have the correct canon, it logically follows that you are also wrong about sola scriptura."

My comment
At least in its material application.

Bible Smack
They did not contain the apocyrpha in the traditional sense. The apocrypha was always separate because they were not translating from the LXX they were translating from the hebrew which did not contain the apocrypha. They did this for historical perspective. letting the books inform the reader of the history.

My comment
As I previously answered this one, the Apostles when speaking Greek where not "translating from" LXX, but QUOTING it as an already EXTANT translation from Hebrew to Greek.

There is a passage in Hebrews, which presupposes that LXX got a passage of Jeremiah right and implies that the present Masoretic text gets it wrong. The present text of the Masoretic version is in the Hebrew Original Language, but it is not in the Hebrew Original Wording. Or if it is, Hebrews is wrong and NT can be thrown out. Your choice. Or not, God has chosen, Hebrews and LXX are right, Masoretic is on this one wrong. But it is not me you should believe on that one, but the Church.

Bible Smack
Here we are coming to Jay's fundamental misunderstanding of inspiration.

it just comes across so ridiculous in my mind. "Who Decides what God says?"

God!! He determines His Word.

psalm 119:89 For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.

My comment
And in Heaven, Jesus as God made Man, His Blessed Mother, the angels, the souls of the saints, on a lower level, probably, Henoch and Elijah, certainly do not need to ask any Pope or Bishop what the canon is, it is IN HEAVEN set out forever, exactly as the verse says.

So, IN HEAVEN, God has decided it, once and for all. No doubt or ambiguity possible.

Next question, to repeat what Jay was obviously asking, but to paraphrase a bit.

Who decides ON EARTH what God has said in Heaven?

Bible Smack
Jay appears to be missing the fundaental question. "what is the word of God to begin with?" Is it a set of Holy Books? Or is it the Revelation of God?

The Church does not make something the Word of God. The Church simply has a responsibility to recognize what we know that God has revealed.

My comment
The Church is the "we" - the real we - which knows that God has revealed a certain book.

You admitted yourself, it is the CHURCH which has the responsibility to recognise what "we" - in fact THE CHURCH - know(s) that God has revealed.

There can be no other "we" than the Church to know this, if it is the Church that has this responsibility. Which brings us to the question of where is the true Church.

And the obvious answer is "at least not Protestantism". In any of its branches. It may have parts of Catholic truth and even one true Sacrament (in most forms of Protestantism) which remains valid : Baptism. Plus Marriage, when between baptised persons intending to remain faithful all their lives, and intending to be fruitful and multiply.

But each and every one of the more than 5000 larger or smaller branches of Protestantism (from Anglican Community down to a one congregation Independent Baptist community) shares the root of trying and failing to base its canon of the Bible on anything other than the Roman Catholic Church the original branches of Protestantism rebelled against.

When I say "failing", I am obviously not referring to "in their own eyes".

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Feast: Rome, on the Lateran,
Dedication of Basilica of Christ Our Saviour
Mother and Head of all Churches in Rome
and on the Orb of Earth

tisdag 27 oktober 2015

Why we Trust the Bible : Lita Gets It Nearly Right

Her idea about why we trust the Bible goes a bit like this:

The originals were inspired, The originals were copied, The copies were copied, The copies were quoted and translated, and Exciting manuscript research is now going on.


All this is very true.

But she leaves out one crucial thing.

When we speak of crucial, why not mention the exchange about gematria* between Epistle of Barnabas and early non-Christian rabbis? Abraham went to (was it Gehazi?) with 318 men. Now, in Greek, the letters had numeral values. 318 looks like TIH. T looks like a cross, and Tav means mark and looks even more like a cross in its oldest forms. IH are the first two letters of IHCOYC - the Greek version of Jesus. Or in genetive IHCOY. And the phrase then means "cross of Jesus", which is the real reason Abraham was victorious or successful. Rabbis answered that 318 is the numeral value of the name Eliezer, the name of Abraham's trusted servant. So, 318 men really meant Eliezer alone went down with Abraham. Now, Eliezer has a counterpart in the New Testament. Jesus also has chosen a one servant as trusted as Eliezer. St Peter.

So, when Abraham went down with 318 men, he went down under the God seen shadow of the cross of Christ, and he went down with Eliezer, who was prophetically prefiguring papacy. Not meaning there were not 317 other men too.

The crucial (or, Eliezeric, or papal) issue Lita Cosner leaves out is the role of the Church as authoritative body of teachers.

The originals were inspired, and the Church knew this.

The originals were copied, mostly not on private initiative, unlike what she imagines, but because the Church had accepted as inspired certain apostolic writings, either by apostles themselves or by certain disciples of them. These were ORDERED to be copied. In the case of Apocalypse, it was certainly copied to the bishops (early Christian term : angels, St John might have called simple priests bishops), of the Seven Churches. And since these (except perhaps the one of Laodicea**) accepted St John as being a guarantee of his writing being inspired, these ordered further copies. But of course, every bishop or series of bishops who received an epistle from Sts Peter or Paul ordered copies too. Rome received Romans from St Paul and one at least from St Peter. Corinth received two from St Paul. Bishops*** Timothy and Titus received together three from St Paul.

The copies were copied, like the originals had been, mainly because Church men required it.

The copies were quoted and translated, also because Church men wanted it. Most notably, when St Jerome translated what we know as the Vulgate, he took orders from bishops (he was just a priest himself), and while translating OT from Hebrew and himself wanting to translate only what he found a Hebrew text for (a preference which Protestants have taken from his personal preference), he obeyed the preference of the bishops to include all books of the LXX (Septuagint). Now, there were diverse versions of LXX, and St Jerome's apparently did not include III and IV Maccabees, the latter being a moral sermon by Flavius Josephus. But he did obey the Church and we do have I and II Maccabees in the Vulgate.

As for Church Fathers quoting Scripture, yes, for one thing these were usually Church men (priests like St Jerome, more often Bishops like Sts Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, though Bede of Jarrown was again just a priest), but even more, it is the authority of Church men which tells us how to distinguish a genuine Church Father (like those mentioned) from a writer who is not holy and not reliable (like Terence or Origen), and it were Church men who chose what aspects (if any, but like for these two) one could accept (like Mariology of Origen, but not his idea of Apokastasis ton Panton).

The last part, and Exciting manuscript research is now going on. Sure. Some of it on orders of Church men. But it is less important than the Tradition of the Church.

For instance, some have found very old manuscripts in Sinai or elsewhere, which here and there lack a verse. We do not go by manuscript research and say those verses were later additions. We go by the tradition of the Church and say these verses belonged there. If they missed in that manuscript, this may be due to having been written by some sect and then taken hold of, or may be a mistake by a copyist, who may have been a moralist or sth, and the mistake was why the manuscript was left unused in a corner, which was why it was preserved so long and so well.

So, when we trust God to have preserved His Word, we trust Him to have preserved the original Church (visible body, not abstract total of all real Christians dispersed through different ones) which He originally spoke to. If you say, God could have preserved His Word without the Church, we answer, He could and did preserve His Church too, and His Word mainly through it. Or through Her.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Vigil of Sts Simon and Jude

CMI : Has the New Testament been corrupted?
by Lita Cosner
Published: 27 October 2015

* See the article Gematria in Encyclopædia Judaica.

** A council of Laodicea some centuries later gives a list of books from which readings are to be made during Holy Mass and Hours. Apocalypse of St John is not among these. However, even in the West, reading Apocalypse was more done by lectio continua by monks reading it in private. Than by public reading of its texts in Church.

*** These were functionally bishops, but there was at first no one accepted name for these, after these included more than the Apostles. The word "bishop" in the letters seems to mean "priest" rather than what we call bishop. For instance, they could be married. On the other hand, someone has said that only later celibacy was required before becoming a bishop.

måndag 5 oktober 2015

2 Timothy 3:16

1) Creation vs. Evolution : CMI and Reformers, *sigh* , 2) Great Bishop of Geneva! : 2 Timothy 3:16, 3) HGL's F.B. writings : With Matt Singleton on LXX/"Apocrypha" and on liquor in moderation, 4) Great Bishop of Geneva! : In defense of Jay Dyer's Objections from Back Then

First of all - "all Scripture" does not mean "all mistranslations of Scripture" like the two modifications Dr Martin Luther defended in his Sendbrief vom Dolmetzschen. Romans 3:28 and Luke 1:28 are indeed part of it, but Luther's versions of them are not.

Second, "all A is B" does NOT mean "all B is A". For example, "all dogs are mammals" does NOT mean "all mammals are dogs".

A statement like "all A is/are B" is unsymmetrical and should definitely NOT be symbolised by the symmetrical A = B.

Now, there is a third point, which is not so much directed against Protestantism in general as against a very Modernist type of it.

slacktivist : The symmetric property of 2 Timothy 3:16

It is that when the B of "all A is/are B" refers to a list, it does not reduce A to just one item on the list.

McGrath seems to have made a point that appealed to slacktivist. Here he gives the quote, including following verse:

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in justice, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

Now, McGrath continues to be cited with approval:

That reinforces and amplifies McGrath’s point. This isn’t about doctrine or dogma, but about behavior — about “training people in living a particular way.”

Is that so?

First of all "every good work" might include also good works on the intellectual field, like today creationism or, as on this blog, apologetics against the Protestant errors (see my observations 1 and 2). But then it seems to be some kind of sloppy reading.

Justice is indeed about behaviour. And actually in many ways about the behaviour called righteousness. Not towsing before marriage is usually a rule neglected by people clamouring for justice, and yet it is eminently just. It is just towards God not to abuse intercourse by preventing conception. Since God had a specific goal in view, see Genesis 1:28. But it is also just towards the neighbour, the child one is possibly procreating, to make a good two-person and these of different sexes and also related to the child arrangement for its raising. It is called marriage.

Now, "justice" was one item on a list.

useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in justice

So, behaviour was one part of the list, but not all of it.

useful for teaching,
This means doctrine and dogma!

for reproof,
This means apologetics.

for correction,
This means pastoral and fraternal correction.

and for training in justice
Now, this last one actually means behaviour.

I looked up the Greek word for "training". Nestlé Aland is good. Here is the end of the verse: πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, and paideia does not quite as strongly as askesis suggest things like fasting and praying. But obviously Scripture is very useful for that too, at least if you count Gospels as part of it. Again, something like "righteousness" and not just sth like modern meaning range for "justice".

Note that paideia does suggest another thing. Scripture does not contain all the good works there are by description. It "inspires" every kind of them, and "inspires" most of those found in the lives of the saints, but some of the actual complexities of deeds, like founding monasteries, are not directly in Divine Scripture. This was a paideia, a propaedeutic, a paedagogy for them. Like playing études is for playing sonatas. Like learning multiplication tables are for doing useful maths, and so on.

But here too, we are once again confronted with doctrine. St Dominic and St Thomas were doing as good works precisely the kind which is concerned with teaching and reproof, mostly by converting or helping others to convert Albigensians. A k a Manichees. And the patron of this blog was doing the same when it came to the poor Calvinists in Chablais. 2 Tim 3:16-17 is indeed concerned with doctrine. McGrath got that all wrong.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
St Placidus and Companions*

* Messanae, in Sicilia, natalis sanctorum Martyrum Placidi Monachi, e beati Benedicti Abbatis discipulis, et ejus fratrum Eutychii et Victorini, ac sororis eorum Flaviae Virginis, itemque Donati, Firmati Diaconi, Fausti et aliorum triginta Monachorum, qui omnes a Manucha pirata, pro Christi fide, necati sunt.

If Someone Seeing my Creationist Apologetics Wonders Why I am Catholic, I said what I think about Luther here (link)

Creation vs. Evolution : CMI and Reformers, *sigh*

The post links to this blog.

tisdag 22 september 2015

Dwight Longenecker rightly attacked Sola Scriptura - but went wrong himelf

Links first.

Page 1 and page 2 of his article.

The good part:

I understand that an educated and intelligent Protestant knows that Biblical exegesis is a complex and subtle art which requires a learned and expert scholar. This is not the way it is perceived however by the vast relatively unlearned populace. They hear Protestant preachers issue prohibitions and pronouncements based on a Bible text and they respond by asking why this text was authoritative and that one is not.

In the public square therefore, the most common objection to Christian teaching on traditional marriage is the argument that goes like this: “You say gay sex is an abomination because one verse in the Old Testament says so, but why don’t you therefore outlaw bacon sandwiches, eating shrimp and say every boy needs to be circumcised? Huh??”

Even the most basically informed Christian will be able to answer the question, but the question would not exist if it weren’t for the false doctrine of sola Scriptura.


The Catholic Church has good answers as to why certain teachings (like dietary prohibitions) are not applicable while others are universal and foundational.

There is also a bad part.

The Catholic Church doesn’t mind if there are historical inconsistencies or editorial mishaps because the Church is the greater authority and the living inspiration of the church is there to balance the written inspiration of the Scriptures.

Inspiration has a very precise meaning in Catholic doctrine. A Bible text which is inspired (that means all texts that are in original manuscript or correct copies and translations thereof, and that of books deemed by the Church to be part of Canon) has God Himself for author.

If Amwaz is 160 stades or 32 km from Jerusalem, and we find Emmaus in Gospel of St Luke as being 60 stades or 12 km from Jerusalem, we have options:

  • The Syriac manuscript which says 160 stades preserves the correct original reading;
  • Amwaz is same city community but not strictly same locality as Emmaus. Emmaus was torn down by Romans and rebuilt, this may have been further away from Jerusalem;
  • Christ made a miracle so that a distance of 32 km was walked in a walk of 12 (less probable, but not outside His Omnipotence);
  • and that's it.

If one were speaking of a merely human text, one could say they walked together 60 of the 160 stades, and that Luke misunderstood the distance, or that he was told "hundred sixty" and only heard "sixty", but since St Luke in writing of Gospel as well as Acts was an Inspired Author, these options are strictly off-limit. Actually my third option would also involve an error on part of St Luke, since he wrote:

Luke 24:13 And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus.

He said the town was that distant, not that they walked that distance.

(Furlongs = older English translation of stades. Not Old English, since that would be "furhe lang", and 60 furlongs would be "seoxtige furhom lang", but just older Modern English, when translators picked an English measure roughly equivalent to the stade.)

My own normal common sense favourite is that Amwaz was rebuilt further away from Jerusalem than Emmaus was when the disciples went there in company with Our Lord and also than Emmaus still was when St Luke came to Holy Land to make his research before Year Seventy.

Inspiration is therefore a total exclusion of any error, even factual errors "totally beside the point", in the text. Such a thing is NOT the ecclesiastic infallibility, which only excludes error that "fallunt" - deceive - in relation to the necessary beliefs and commandments and works of perfection relevant to our Salvation. Since infallibility does not amount to inerrancy, it's cause is not lightly to be equated with "inspiration" which for one thing is an intimate thing between God and the Holy Writer (while infallibility may be external, such as a Pope going off to teach an error providentially stumbling and breaking a leg and getting correction while in bed, so that he doesn't teach that error, or even getting contradicted by fraternal correction, as with Pope John XXII, after teaching it, but in that case also accepting correction), and for the other produces not just infallibility (freedom from salvation relevant deceptions) but actual inerrancy, freedom from any factual error.

Therefore, the Church cannot enjoy any "inspiration" in the full sense and what the Church does enjoy cannot balance, only preserve, the Inspiration of the Sacred Writings. Such a preservation is done with utmost deference.

This is very much more than sixty or hundred sixty furlongs away from what Dwight says here:

Consequently it is a very big deal when Biblical scholars poke through the Bible and say, “Well, we don’t think this particular story happened exactly like this.” or “The external historical record indicates that these Bible stories are not completely historical.” or “Textual and linguistic evidence indicates that there are two or three different authors here…” If the Bible is all, then the findings of Biblical scholars are an earthquake which shake the faith of many Protestants. The Bible, it turns out, is not the perfect perfect book from heaven they were told it was.

Well, the Bible IS precisely a perfect book, and if not Fallen from Heaven in our time, at least virtually so for each book in its time and for all times.

What Kent Hovind says about chariot warriors being 10 times more than chariots in one comparison between 2 places in King James is precisely what the Traditional Haydock comment (1859, one year after Darwin and not the least Darwinistic or Old Earthish) attributes to the French Bible commenter Dom Augustin Calmet.

Catholic Bible understanding, as far as factuality is concerned, is in fact very much the Fundamentalist one. Kent Hovind and Dom Calmet agree : if you study the matter close enough, there is really no contradiction anywhere in the Bible.

Tota Scriptura (inerrancy of all sacred Scripture) must not be thrown out with the bathwater of Sola Scriptura (infallibility only of inerrant Scripture or "paper Pope" being only Pope).

The one was as much affirmeed by Trent as the other was condemned by Trent.

Hans Georg Lundahl
St Emmeram

fredag 31 juli 2015

Can One Bow Down to Angels?

Josue V:[13] And when Josue was in the field of the city of Jericho, he lifted up his eyes, and saw a man standing over against him: holding a drawn sword, and he went to him, and said: Art thou one of ours, or of our adversaries? [14] And he answered: No: but I am prince of the host of the Lord, and now I am come. [15] Josue fell on his face to the ground. And worshipping, add: What saith my lord to his servant? [16] Loose, saith he, thy shoes from off thy feet: for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Josue did as was commanded him.

[14] Prince of the host of the Lord: St. Michael, who is called prince of the people of Israel, Dan. 10. 21.

[15] Worshipping: Not with divine honour, but with a religious veneration of an inferior kind, suitable to the dignity of his person.

Apocalypse XIX:[10] And I fell down before his feet, to adore him. And he saith to me: See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, who have the testimony of Jesus. Adore God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

[10] I fell down before: St. Augustine (lib. 20, contra Faust, c. 21) is of opinion, that this angel appeared in so glorious a manner, that St. John took him to be God; and therefore would have given him divine honour had not the angel stopped him, by telling him he was but his fellow servant.

St. Gregory (Hom. 8, in Evang.) rather thinks that the veneration offered by St. John, was not divine honour, or indeed any other than what might lawfully be given; but was nevertheless refused by the angel, in consideration of the dignity to which our human nature had been raised, by the incarnation of the Son of God, and the dignity of St. John, an apostle, prophet, and martyr.

From above, I take it the answer is yes:

Sancte Michael Archangele, Blessed Michael, Archangel,
defende nos in proelio; defend us in the hour of conflict;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: May God restrain him, we humbly pray;
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, by the power of God, thrust, down to hell, Satan,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, and with him the other wicked spirits
divina virtute in infernum detrude. who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
Amen. Amen.

fredag 10 juli 2015

An Orthodox Misquoted St Augustine On the Holy Trinity § 47

He forgot to tell it was book 15 § 47 (§§ and chapters go through each book as independent numberings), but there is a § 47 in Book XV, and here is how it reads:

47. Are we therefore able to ask whether the Holy Spirit had already proceeded from the Father when the Son was born, or had not yet proceeded; and when He was born, proceeded from both, wherein there is no such thing as distinct times: just as we have been able to ask, in a case where we do find times, that the will proceeds from the human mind first, in order that that may be sought which, when found, may be called offspring; which offspring being already brought forth or born, that will is made perfect, resting in this end, so that what had been its desire when seeking, is its love when enjoying; which love now proceeds from both, i.e. from the mind that begets, and from the notion that is begotten, as if from parent and offspring? These things it is absolutely impossible to ask in this case, where nothing is begun in time, so as to be perfected in a time following. Wherefore let him who can understand the generation of the Son from the Father without time, understand also the procession of the Holy Spirit from both without time. And let him who can understand, in that which the Son says, « As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself, » not that the Father gave life to the Son already existing without life, but that He so begot Him apart from time, that the life which the Father gave to the Son by begetting Him is co-eternal with the life of the Father who gave it: let him, I say, understand, that as the Father has in Himself that the Holy Spirit should proceed from Him, so has He given to the Son that the same Holy Spirit should proceed from Him, and be both apart from time: and that the Holy Spirit is so said to proceed from the Father as that it be understood that His proceeding also from the Son, is a property derived by the Son from the Father. For if the Son has of the Father whatever He has, then certainly He has of the Father, that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from Him. But let no one think of any times therein which imply a sooner and a later; because these things are not there at all. How, then, would it not be most absurd to call Him the Son of both: when, just as generation from the Father, without any changeableness of nature, gives to the Son essence, without beginning of time; so procession from both, without any changeableness of nature, gives to the Holy Spirit essence without beginning of time? For while we do not say that the Holy Spirit is begotten, yet we do not therefore dare to say that He is unbegotten, lest any one suspect in this word either two Fathers in that Trinity, or two who are not from another. For the Father alone is not from another, and therefore He alone is called unbegotten, not indeed in the Scriptures, but in the usage of disputants, who employ such language as they can on so great a subject. And the Son is born of the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father principally, the Father giving the procession without any interval of time, yet in common from both [Father and Son]. But He would be called the Son of the Father and of the Son, if— a thing abhorrent to the feeling of all sound minds— both had begotten Him. Therefore the Spirit of both is not begotten of both, but proceeds from both.

Source: Book XV (you'll have to scroll down) of On the Trinity

Note, Photius in Vivliothiki calls St Augustine (of whom he presumably read another book) "ho en tois hagiois Aougoustinos"./HGL

fredag 22 maj 2015

Are Rosaries "Vain Repetitions" or "Many Words"?

We are talking about Matthew 6:7.

Here is the approved Catholic text:

And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard.

Orantes autem, nolite multum loqui, sicut ethnici, putant enim quod in multiloquio suo exaudiantur.

Note that the Catholic Translation neither uses a word meaning "repetitions" nor even a word meaning "many words". It uses a word which means "speaking much" and may have the nuance "speaking much and saying little". Which is pretty much the opposite of repeating a few meaningful words over and over again.

Now, Buddhists and Hindoos are Pagans we all know about, and so are Muslims, unless you prefer to class them as heretics rather than Pagans. They all use a kind of "rosaries" (except the number of beads is different and the words are not the same and the religion is not the same and therefore it is not the same rosary!).

So, can that be what Christ spoke about?

Well, Romans and Greeks were the Pagans they were dealing with back then. THEY had no rosary of any type. If they had had it, Protestants who accuse Catholicism of being a hybrid of Christianity and Roman Paganism would hardly have said that Rosaries were taken over from Muslims. So, seeing that Buddhists and Hindoos and Muslims were either far away (as Buddhists) or didn't yet exist (as Muslims) or something of both, as possibly Hindoos*, seeing that the hearers were probably much more familiar with Roman Paganism, what was "multiloqium" like in that religion?

We need in fact not guess.

We have preserved literary examples and one VERY close in time to when Christ was speaking - both the Pagan prayer and the first Pater Noster were spoken while Tiberius reigned in Rome.

Here is the end of Velleius Paterculus Roman History, Book II, the two paragraphs of chapter 131:**

"Voto finiendum volumen est. Iuppiter Capitoline, et auctor ac stator Romani nominis Gradive Mars, perpetuorumque custos Vesta ignium et quidquid numinum hanc Romani imperii molem in amplissimum terrarum orbis fastigium extulit, vos publica voce obtestor atque precor: custodite, servate, protegite hunc statum, hanc pacem, hunc principem, 2 eique functo longissima statione mortali destinate successores quam serissimos, sed eos, quorum cervices tam fortiter sustinendo terrarum orbis imperio sufficiant, quam huius suffecisse sensimus, consiliaque omnium civium aut pia fovete aut impia opprimite."

"Let me end my volume with a prayer. O Jupiter Capitolinus, and Mars Gradivus, author and stay of the Roman name, Vesta, guardian of the eternal fire, and all other divinities who have exalted this great empire of Rome to the highest point yet reached on earth! On you I call, and to you I pray in the name of this people: guard, preserve, protect the present state of things, the peace which we enjoy, the present emperor, and when he has filled his post of duty — 2 and may it be the longest granted to mortals — grant him successors until the latest time, but successors whose shoulders may be as capable of sustaining bravely the empire of the world as we have found his to be: foster the pious plans of all good citizens and crush the impious designs of the wicked."

He could have said just (I would not say it, since invoking Pagan false deities, but you can see what I mean):

"Jove and Mars and Vesta : preserve Rome, bless the Emperor and his friends, crush evildoers, remember your commitment to the Capitol and to Roman Empire."

THAT is all that the above meant.

The footnote to this ending prayer of Velleius Paterculus says:

"Like most prayers, Velleius's was not answered. Within two years, Sejanus had been sacked and executed; within eight, Tiberius was dead, succeeded by Caligula, one of the worst monsters ever to sully the Roman throne; after the interlude of Claudius, the suicide of the similarly monstrous Nero in a filthy hiding-place, only 40 years after Velleius' book, put an end to the dynasty of Augustus and Tiberius and plunged the empire into murderous chaos. "

So, no, repeating Ave Maria is NOT what Christ meant by "many words", it has fewer words than The Lord's Prayer, and he did not forbid anyone to repeat that over and over again.

In fact, saying 150 Our Father is an earlier Catholic practise than saying 150 Hail Mary (with 15 Our Father) or even dividing these into 3 * 50. About 500 or perhaps rather 800 or sth, well before the Rosary, the monks who knew Latin would say the psalter, 150 psalms per week, while those who didn't were required to learn Our Father by heart and repeat it 150 times each day.

They obviously had to use some device for counting the prayers, and a string with knots or beads is one obvious possibility.

Here is a thing*** about John Wesley:

There was a preacher named John Wesley who was used by God to bring about revivals and found the Methodist movement. And the story goes that one day he said to his servant that he was going to go and pray in his study for one hour. And so he went in and closed the door. An hour passed and the servant went to go and get John Wesley as was requested. But before he opened the door he peaked through the little keyhole (it was back in the older days) and saw his master in such a state of holiness that he dared not disturb him.

So another hour passed and the servant once more looked through the keyhole and saw the same. Finally another hour passed and John Wesley was still so deep in prayer. He thought to himself, "Surely I must get him now for 3 hours have passed and he told me to get him after 1 hour." So he opened the door and attracted his attention.

John Wesley replied, "Oh, is the hour over already. It is amazing how time passes when you are with the Lord!"

My point will not be that of Authentic Walk Ministries, but rather this.

Either he was improvising, or he was using a set prayer. If he was improvising, it is much more likely that instead of saying a few meaningful words over and over again, he added words and circumstances he really had no need to worry about.

But if not, if he was using a few well chosen words at each time, it is much more likely that he ended up with something at least approaching set prayers.

And if he had used the set prayers of the Catholic Church, well, he might really have spent the three hours actually obeying the injunction to avoid "much speaking". Totally. Alas, I don't think it was quite the case, but he was more pious than Luther, whom Priebe cites next. Taking an hour or three quarters per day to say the 15 mysteries of the Roasary is well invested, both from the viewpoint of Matthew 6:7, as a way of avoiding "much speaking", and from other view points, such as cultivating a real confidence in God.

Whose school is better for that, than the Blessed Virgin Mary's?

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Julia of Corsica
Virgin and Martyr

* One can argue Hinduism before Ashoka was a different and more bloody religion. Horses were sacrificed as among the Norse Pagans. On the other hand, Kali worship continued or resurged or originated as a Hindoo blood cult well after Ashoka, and was ended thanks to Portuguese, French and Brits.

** Velleius Paterculus, Roman History
Book II: Chapters 94‑131*.html

Idem textus latine

Velleius Paterculus: The Roman History
The Text on LacusCurtius

*** Authentic Walk Ministries : Begin small: by Chris Priebe

torsdag 23 april 2015

The Mexican in Edinburgh and Church History

Suppose you heard a story like this :

When I arrived in Edinburgh, on Thursday, I met a man I had corresponded with who seemed sane (as usually in the letters we had exchanged) except he had a funny accent, notably how he pronounced the letter R. He invited me home over the weekend, very friendly he was. On Friday he started behaving like an alcoholic, since he offered me a glass which was apparently grappa which had been spoiled by adding a piece of burned wood. Nearly no taste of grapes left in it! No sober man would drink such a mistreated grappa! On Saturday, he went one worse, he offered me some funny stuff (I ate it so as not to anger him anyway), he called it haggis and had the audacity to admit it was sheep entrails. I mean, has he never heard of hygiene? But worst of all, Sunday morning I really fled, he was all dressed up as a transvestite, wearing skirts and all, even asked me how I liked his … what was the word? … kilt. I mean, this means he must have been going mad over the weekend, doesn’t it? Before I left Edinburgh, I saw other transvestites in “kilt” too, it seems they are all going mad. Totalmeeente loooocos!

You would for one thing note that he misunderstood more or less everything he objected to. Whisky is not a grappa, but a grain liquor. It has a taste of burned peat smoke right from before it becomes beer, since that is how they roast malt. What the Mexican visitor took for remaining very weak taste of grapes was really an added such, since whisky is 5 to 10, sometimes more years in caskets that had served exactly once to transport Sherry. Sheep entrails are obviously properly washed before going into haggis and using them is not ignorance of what real meat is like, it is reluctance to let even byproducts of sheep slaughter go to waste. You see, the Scots perhaps have a few less perros to spend their butcher’s entrails on. And wearing kilt goes back to wearing a kind of toga with a belt, and then keeping the lower part. Even the Mexican might know that togas were worn by people before they had trousers. So, wearing a “kilt” has nothing to do with being transvestite.

But another trait of his story is that he hasn’t grasped that the Scotsman was doing these things all of his at least adult life. Since he could wear anything beyond toddler dresses, he has been wearing kilt as a sign of national pride any time he has been dressing up. Since he was weaned, he has been eating haggis occasionally. Since he was adult enough to drink any strong drink, whisky has been part of that. I just tried to explain some of this to the Mexican.

Ah no! That can’t be true! Cascaras! I have never heard him speak of whisky all the time we corresponded, I have never seen him allude to wearing kilt, and he never even said a word about haggis!

See what is wrong? He got into his head that the three things are somehow objectionable, he can’t admit they might not seem so at all to the Scotsman, and he demands that if the Scotsman had been doing these things before, he really MUST have had the honesty to previous to meeting admit such shameful things.

Except, to the Scotsman these things were never shameful at all in the first place. And the reason he never mentioned them in the mail was that he was writing about something else, like the rising of Jacobites in 1713 and again in 1745, since the Mexican had heard of Rob Roy and Waverley (but not read them himself, or he would have known about the togas that preceded kilt and about whisky, perhaps haggis too, though I do not recall that.) That is what Protestantism is like when it argues about Catholic unbiblical heresies.

Carl Wieland (who seems to feel however retired he may be from directing CMI, writing is not something you retire from), gave a very good picture about the progressive revelation over OT to NT:

It is true that there is a progress of doctrine in the Bible. A better description might be a progressive revelation. The great preacher J. Sidlow Baxter explained it like a window blind being gradually raised. The light of the sun outside (analogous here to God’s truth, the glory of the Gospel) is unchanging—but through this stepwise revealing, ever more of this pre-existent light becomes apparent.

So, the Protestant may suspect, if we “keep adding new doctrines” (as he thinks we did over two millennia) do we feel the window blind needs more raising? No. In the timeline which follows, and which BLURTS OUT IN CAPITAL LETTERS that 1870 was when Papal infallibility was defined as dogma, the fact is not addressed that it was on that same occasion also defined that Popes cannot add to revelation, they can only, basically, guard what is revealed from new misunderstandings.

This is the most basic misunderstanding behind the timeline given. Like the Mexican thought the Scotsman took to spoiled grappa on Friday only, to eating entrails on Saturday only, to being a transvestite on Sunday only, every time starting a new madness which he had hitherto been preserved from, so also the Protestant very usually picks a year in which a doctrine is documented, thinks it is first documented in that year because the historian just hasn’t found or hasn’t understood the documents previous to that year, and concludes that such and such a year is when Catholicism started going mad in such and such a way. Also, he is very like the Mexican even “documenting” that the Scotsman had never eaten haggis, drunk whisky or been clothed in kilt previous to his visit by pointing to all of his correspondence and saying “not a word of haggis here, not a word of whisky here, not a word of kilts here!” – since when he goes to earlier writings and doesn’t find the doctrines or practices he objects to, he is overlooking the fact that such and such a writing which he uses as example in his negative inductive reasoning about “Mariolatry previous to 432” or similar, simply had other things to speak about than the exact words in which the Blessed Virgin was already being called blessed by “every generation” (Luke 1:48) previous to 432 as well as after 432 (and that also by the side which lost the council of 432, the Nestorians).

But now, let’s take a look at the timeline, not as given, but with my comments. Each item is cited as given before I comment it. This is not a timeline of a shutter or window blind is gradually raised, it is a timeline of how a painting is gradually restored where colour pieces flake, so that the picture remains as it was originally painted.

A Supposed Time Table for « introduction of Roman Catholic heresies »

I have seen others, but I’ll comment on this one, since it’s circulating on FB. And if I see some other one, with slight variations, I might not bother to go through a whole other list again, I might just attach a comment about the variation onto it.

310 AD
Prayer for the dead introduced
Already answered here:

1) Salute ... the Household of Onesiphorus, 2) Answering an Attack Against Prayers for the Dead

In other words, the answer is, as you could perhaps guess from my analogue with the Scotsman misunderstood by a Mexican, prayers for the dead were going on, both in St Paul’s time and even in the times of Maccabees, centuries before Christ. Praying for the dead was therefore part of what Carl Wieland called the gradual raising of the window blind, and was clearly there before the window was totally open. And even before the Maccabees, it was being recommended, in a form which has to do with Indulgences, by the older to the younger or the two Tobias.

I am not sure if the year 310 is a year which actually documents this practice, or if rather the historian was (and correctly so) sure it was going on before Constantine legalises the Christian Church, but he wanted to have an intro year as late as possible before the year 313, in which Catholic practices were revealed on a large scale to the world and clearly included praying for the dead.

375 AD
The worship of saints
I don't know where to start here. See later on canonisation.
394 AD
The Mass adopted

That happened on the Last Supper, every Apostle adopted it wholeheartedly except Judas the traitor. That Mass is a sacrifice is stated Hebrews 13:10, that it is not another sacrifice than that of Calvary is very clearly stated earlier in Hebrews, which leaves us with Holy Mass, instituted at Last Supper, being same sacrifice as that of Calvary. Which is what we believe and what Trent defined. Same sacrifice, only under two different forms.

Contrast the animal sacrifices during Older Law : these were not same sacrifice, but a sacrifice symbolically prophetic of it. Its God was the same, but its victim was not the same, lambs and doves being only symbols and shadows of what was to come. Therefore, its priesthood also is not the same. Therefore, as said in Hebrews, the priest of the New Testament is ONE, which means – if you look at scenes like Last Supper or meetings after Resurrection, the first 12 priests (or after Resurrection only 11 left) were told to do what Christ had done and sent by Christ, as Christ by the Father and therefore the same priest as Christ.

400-410 AD
NT Canon finalised in Western Church.
Not on the list of Roman Catholic heresies, but should be included in timeline. Here is Catholic Encyclopedia on it:

So at the close of the first decade of the fifth century the entire Western Church was in possession of the full Canon of the New Testament. In the East, where, with the exception of the Edessene Syrian Church, approximate completeness had long obtained without the aid of formal enactments, opinions were still somewhat divided on the Apocalypse. But for the Catholic Church as a whole the content of the New Testament was definitely fixed, and the discussion closed.

If this is correct, how can you mistrust decisions (or supposed such) from back in 310, when you trust one from 410? Was the Catholic Church already apostate or apostasising, therefore unreliable, in 310, but no longer so in 410, and once again apostate and apostasising in 432? Obviously impossible.

432 AD
Worship of Mary developed
432 was the Third Ecumenical Council called “of Ephesus” or, by some “First of Ephesus” (while others would not consider “Second of Ephesus” as other than a “Robber Council” – it does not count as an Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church).

One might from above words get the idea some crooked paganising bishops decided that a little more Mary worship might get a few more enthusiastic pagans less enthusiastic for goddess worship and more for (adulterated) Christianity.


Antioch and Constantinople had both been “worshipping Mary”, but in Antioch the words used, in themselves not objectionable, we will see how they became so, “Mother of Christ”, while in Constantinople the words used were the title, not objectionable either, and in some ways clearer, “Mother of God”.

A new bishop of Constantinople, a new Patriarch, was called Nestorius and came from Antioch. What do you think happens when he hears people in Constantinople the word Theotokos (in English that would be the words “Mother of God”)?

Nestorius feels queezy about it. I suppose one first step was his asking people from his new see “wait, you don’t believe she is Mother of God the Father, do you?” and they answer “worry less, we are referring to Christ being God, Your Worship can hardly be an Arian, can you?”

I suppose one second step is Nestorius mustering a few other reasons as to why it could make him feel queezy.

About the third step of the story, there is no doubt. Patriach Nestorius says from the pulpit : “you can call the Blessed Virgin Mother of Christ, but you cannot call her Mother of God”. Promptly one layman – a simple faithful who was just one in the pew (if pews is the right expression, in Constantinople they stand during Holy Mass), never ordained or anything, shouts to his face: “you are a heretic!”

The rest is history. He says the layman must do penance for having in ignorance braved his bishop, explains his (as I presume perhaps newer) reasons for feeling queezy about “Mother of God”, others say the layman is right. And there comes a dispute so great, it needs a council to settle it. It decides that one is mother or father of a person, and as the person of Christ is one, and as it is God as well as Man, Mary is “Mother of God” (according to His Flesh), and not just “Mother of Christ” or as Nestorius seemed to have meant it Mother of the Human Nature in Christ.

Since then the Greek version of Hail Mary does contain the word Theotoke, the Nestorian version doesn’t. Is there one? I thought I had seen one in the Wikipedia about a year ago, but now it isn’t there. It is however certain, whether with or without Hail Mary, that Nestorians do honour the Blessed Virgin.

593 AD
Doctrine of Purgatory
This would be during the Papacy of Pope Gregory the Great. He was Pope 590 to 604. And it is true that he wrote a piece (often referred to as Dialogues, he seems to have used that form) which contain stories of ghosts coming from Purgatory – and describing it – and asking to get prayers.

Now, a Protestant acting with Catholicism as the Mexican of my fable with the Scotsman, might get the idea that the Church in Rome had prayed for dead all the years 310 to 593, without ever asking itself why or exactly how it could help, and suddenly an apparition with a ghost (which they might perhaps consider a demonic one), gives the Romans an explanation.

“Oh, Purgatory? Is that why we pray for the dead? I had been wondering!”

I think attributing Purgatory to 593 AD was a bit better, as an explanation, back when one might “credibly” pretend that prayers for the dead started in 593 too.

Since certain of the Orthodox do not believe in Purgatory, one might add, other explanations might have been “on the market”, and have been excluded in Rome due to the apparition. These other explanations do not contradict the proof texts in Maccabees and in Tobit (which the Orthodox also accept), but they do contradict the traditional RC explanation of certain NT passages, though there some would claim they speak of Hell rather than Purgatory. That is however less likely, since one of them speaks about “building on Christ” – not just of those who build with precious stones, but also of those who build with stubble.

600 AD
Worship in Latin mandated (since repealed)
I think they got the year seriously too late.

The Mass Liturgy got its latest additions to Canon Prayer under Pope Saint Gregory the Great (600 is also before he dies and after his election), but it had been in Latin as opposed to Greek a few centuries earlier.

You see, the decision to celebrate in Latin was taken because Greek ceased to be understood in Rome. This means that it was, if not a decision in favour of a true “everyday” vernacular, at least a decision like if a Catholic Bishop in England were to get permission today to exchange the Latin for the English of the King James Bible. It was, either way, a decision away from a language which was unknown to the people, not a decision to it.

What Pope Gregory decided was however – and this may be what they think of – that Anglo-Saxons should celebrate Mass in Latin and not in Anglo-Saxon.

He was certainly appealing to fact that three languages only were used on the Cross Title : “in Hebrew, Greek and Latin”. Hebrew had been the sacred language of the Old Covenant, so Greek and Latin were jointly so of the New Covenant.

This decision was not only not infallible, but it was not even claimed as infallible or at least not for long outside the context. Mass was already being celebrated in Syriac in Antioch, in Coptic in Alexandria, and some century later a Pope who succeeded Pope St Gregory the Great would very clearly bless the proposal of Sts Cyril and Method to celebrate Liturgy and translate Holy Bible to Church Slavonic – a language which as a literary language they constructed for the purpose, based on the oral usage of a then Slavonic population near Thessaloniki.

But Pope St Gregory did not see it that way. At least not when mission to Anglo-Saxons came up. Why?

For one thing, he could claim the precedent of St Patrick. He never ordained a priest or consecrated a bishop without first making sure he knew the Latin alphabet and knew Latin.

For another thing, as Father Gregory Hesse said, when saying why he disagreed with he repeal – as this Church historian claimed – some languages are such that one cannot really express everything correctly in them. How would you say “the twelve” and “the eleven” in Australian Aboriginee languages that lack numerals above three or four? Perhaps this example is a misunderstanding, perhaps they do have ways to express very succinctly how one group of disciples were fewer than another group (12 is fewer than 72) and how that group was for a time one man short (11 is one short of 12), and perhaps they can even do so without cumbrous circumlocutions. Perhaps these expressions may even have, by now, been borrowed from English. But the fact that a language can be described as lacking words for numerals above 4 (and I have read such descriptions) is a warning signal not to use that language as the standard, self sufficient, language of teaching or worship for the group speaking it. What exactly Anglo-Saxon lacked I don’t know, but it might have been unity. It may even have been lack of written literature (and St Gregory had no Cyril and Method ready to confidently supplement that lack, or none that he trusted sufficiently). Perhaps Anglo-Saxon was too close to Gothic, and he hated the idea of Liturgy in Gothic due to its being an Arian usage. This Roman Nationalism – though Irish Gaelic is not closely related to Gothic – may have been behind the decisions of Saint Patrick too.

This did not stop missionaries from developing a written Anglo-Saxon for use in teaching and preaching and to teach prayers to the laymen. In later generations, King Alfred and his Welsh friend bishop Asser could use a West-Saxon already looking back to some usage in literary context. At least tentative such.

606 AD
Claims to Papal supremacy
I was puzzled by the date. There had been a conflict about the title Ecumenic Patriarch in which Pope St Gregory was involved, but he died in 604 and his words have been construed as a denial of any bishop being over any other bishop. In 604 to 606, the Pope (I looked it up) was Sabinian – who had other fish to fry. And Boniface III was indeed made Pope next year, though hardly the first one.

607 AD
Boniface made first Pope
Which is why he is called “Boniface the Third”?

More seriously, I have some trouble seeing how St Gregory was not yet a Pope while Boniface III was one, unless it be the personal taste of John Calvin who paradoxically admired, even after founding a branch of Protestantism and denying Purgatory, Pope St Gregory, like Luther, even after attacking Monastic vows, admired St Bernhard. Or as Henry Schartau in Gothenburg (actually in Lund, but he had admirers in Gotheburg) admired St Francis of Sales – the patron saint of this blog.

So, if St Gregory can’t yet be The Beast, but Papacy has to be The Beast, well, what is left to Protestants except to claim his successor (they missed Pope Sabinian) was the first Pope?

That is grasping at straws or sifting midge and swallowing elephants.

650 AD
Feast in honor of Virgin Mary
Which one of them? There are more than one.

786 AD
Worshipping images of relics
You mean 787, right? That was Second Council of Nicaea, the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

And you mean “images AND relics”. The one relic you can adore an image OF is the True Cross. Protestants do it to this day. In Christ’s case there are no bones to serve as relic, since He ascended, but there is the True Cross, and very probably the Shroud and the Sudarium, kept separately in Turin and Oviedo. Also, the Crown of Thorns, kept here in Paris.

Now, the timeline makes it out as if images AND relics hadn’t been worshipped in any way shape or form before 787.

But fact is, if that had been the case, why would Byzantine Emperors (with whom these Protestants agree) have persecuted faithful for “worshipping images and relics” from 726 to 787?

When we say perhaps Methodism was founded as a separate denomination in 1784 (when John Wesley “ordained” ministers without “authorization”) or 1791 (when he died and split was finalised), we do not expect to see Anglicans had persecuted Methodists since 1725! It makes more sense to say Methodism was founded as a practice among Anglicans (involving Wesley Brothers) in 1738 before it was facing persecution in 1739 (on account of open air preachers who, “unlike John Wesley”, were not ordained).

[In case you were puzzled by the citation marks, no, we Catholics do NOT recognise Anglican Holy Orders, we do not recognise them as having apostolic succession or as having had it since basically the Reformation. Which means we consider an Anglican minister at this time or later claiming to be ordained to be a fraud.]

So, you are saying the worship of images and of relics was introduced in 786 (or 787, perhaps you meant?) after being persecuted but not yet invented since 726? Shall we settle for the Back to the Future scenario or will you buy my parallel with the Mexican who misunderstood the Scotsman? What you are saying involves a time paradox!

I would seriously ask you to consider the scenario I gave with my fable about the Mexican guest. St Helen had honoured the relics of the Passion of Christ as soon as she could by excavations on Calvary. And she was mother of Constantine I, she was hardly doing this in 786! St Genevieve of Paris (and of Nanterre, where I am right now, when writing these words) found the area where she lived somewhat ignorant of why relics should be honoured, so she made a propaganda campaign for them. It involved miracles happening due to contact with relics. But this was actually pretty old news, though it was still news to people hearing her (and this means Catholicism was more into lay preachers in 512 than Anglicanism was 1250 years later : women are not ordained). The first degree relics of Elisaeus had raised a dead man during the Old Testament (IV Kings 13:21), while the second degree relics of Saint Paul had both cured and exorcised (Acts 19:12).

The reason we do not have the original manuscripts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is not that one didn’t care for these as relics, it is rather that under the Iconoclasm of Byzantine Emperors they were either destroyed or hidden. These Emperors pretended the books were being worshipped instead of God. First there was the period 726 to 787, involving Emperor Leo III Isauros (The Horrible), and his son Constantine V, then came Leo IV, whose widow Irene as regent for Constantine VI, convoked the Council one year after being widowed.

Ah, that is perhaps where 786 comes from. Death of the Persecutor Leo IV. Whose widow is not persecuting any more.

850 AD
Use of “Holy Water”
I do not know what this refers to, seriously. Not what occasion in 850, that is. I know what Holy Water is, and it is older.

995 AD
Canonization of dead saints
Have you heard of the Roman Martyrology?

In it, date after date, all year round, martyrdom dates were added all through the 280 years (or as soon in them as there were martyrs in Rome) between 33 and 313. Later, some non-martyred saints were also added. Eventually these became the staple. If not in numbers (one martyrdom is about 20.000 at one occasion), at least in dates, in feasts. But this means canonisations, as inscriptions in Roman (and similar) Martyrologies, had been going on for centuries. Well before 995, whatever event in Church history this new “introductory date” may refer to.

Like the Sunday when the Mexican visitor ran out from the house of his host was not the first time that Scotsman wore a kilt.

998 AD
Fasting of Fridays and during Lent
Protestants might like to believe this, but if anything changed that year, it was rather making Wednesdays outside Lent or Ember Days fast free, as one had before fasted on Wednesdays as well. This goes back to Didaché of the Twelve Apostles, a First Century resumé of their teaching, though not part of NT canon. OK, Lent was added after Didaché, in the time of Constantine.

What did happen with some regularity afterwards was hungry Catholics trying to get to eat a little more (not like a normal day but a little more) a little earlier than the stipulations, some bishop granting it, some other bishop saying he had no right to grant it, and some Roman decision making once again an updated version of the exact number of days and exact hours before first meal and exact dishes one could and could not eat.

One of these updates happened in 998, probably, but once again, the Scotsman had eaten haggis plenty of times before the one in which the Mexican guest caught him doing so. Though, if he was a Catholic Scotsman, not during Lent. Or, not during Fridays in Lent. Or, not during Fridays and Wednesdays and Saturdays after first Sunday in Lent. BUT on Sundays even in Lent. See what I mean?

Christ said the friends of the bridegroom shall fast when the bridegroom is taken away from them. Orthodox explain fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays precisely on account of this : Wednesday Holy Week Judas took away Christ from the Church by taking the 30 coins of silver. Friday, soldiers took Him away to Calvary. Hence, the most standard days of fasting are Wednesdays and Fridays.

He also said one’s justice had to be greater than that of Pharisees, now we know (and it’s read by Orthodox during Lent) that a Pharisee enumerated among his good deeds – which he should do, he should just not have bragged about them on the occasion – of fasting twice a week. So, fasting less often than Pharisees, does it make sense if we are to be more just than they?

1003 AD
Feast of the dead introduced
Comment, citing mostly from Catholic Encyclopedia
The commemoration of all the faithful departed is celebrated by the Church on 2 November, or, if this be a Sunday or a solemnity, on 3 November. The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy and all the Masses are to be of Requiem, except one of the current feast, where this is of obligation.”

This is the current discipline, now for History – and Geography:

“In the early days of Christianity the names of the departed brethren were entered in the diptychs. Later, in the sixth century, it was customary in Benedictine monasteries to hold a commemoration of the deceased members at Whitsuntide. In Spain there was such a day on Saturday before Sexagesima or before Pentecost, at the time of St. Isidore (d. 636). In Germany there existed (according to the testimony of Widukind, Abbot of Corvey, c. 980) a time-honoured ceremony of praying to the dead on 1 October. This was accepted and sanctified by the Church. St. Odilo of Cluny (d. 1048) ordered the commemoration of all the faithful departed to be held annually in the monasteries of his congregation. Thence it spread among the other congregations of the Benedictines and among the Carthusians.

“Of the dioceses, Liège was the first to adopt it under Bishop Notger (d. 1008). It is then found in the martyrology of St. Protadius of Besançon (1053-66). Bishop Otricus (1120-25) introduced it into Milan for the 15 October. In Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, priests on this day say three Masses. A similar concession for the entire world was asked of Pope Leo XIII. He would not grant the favour but ordered a special Requiem on Sunday, 30 September, 1888.

“In the Greek Rite this commemoration is held on the eve of Sexagesima Sunday, or on the eve of Pentecost. The Armenians celebrate the passover of the dead on the day after Easter. “

In other words, feast existed earlier. Catholic Encyclopedia online has a typo “praying to the dead” it shall of course read, as link proves, “praying for the dead”.

So, shall we say that Monday November 3 was not the first time this Catholic Scotsman took a black kilt rather than a tartan when going to Church, even though the Mexican gues may have thought so?

But the date changed to the present one in Latin Rite pretty near the date given by the Protestant Church Historian. Bravo!

1074 AD
Celibacy of the priesthood
If you were wondering if these Prots did EVERYTHING according to the fable of the Mexican and the Scotsman, no, not quite.

Before Gregorian Reform (they might be off by some years or be referring to its introduction in England), it happened that married men were ordained. It still happens among Greeks and Ukrainians. It happened on Iceland up to Reformation. If Pope Michael is the true Pope, the rule of ordaining ONLY celibates has by now been revoked.

Ordaining, alongside married men, celibates, is as old as the New Testament.

1076 AD
Dogma of Papal infallibility
Dogma or doctrine?

A Catholic truth may go through several stages of diverse doctrinal dignity.

Some are of course dogma as soon as revealed or with only decades between revelation and writing down – namely the truths that are directly and unambiguously stated in Holy Bible. If you say Jesus was born in Nazareth, you are a heretic, unless you are only ignorant of Scripture. If you say Nimrod had to invent an Esperanto before the Tower to get all men together, you are also a heretic, since the Bible states up to the Tower of Babel all men (at least after the Flood, but very probably, even on linguistic grounds, before the Flood as well) spoke one language. And that separate languages were miraculously produced to stop the Tower from being built.

1090 AD
Prayer beads
Commenting not myself, but quoting Catholic Encyclopedia
Rationalistic criticism generally ascribes an Oriental origin to prayer beads; but man's natural tendency to iteration, especially of prayers, and the spirit and training of the early Christians may still safely be assumed to have spontaneously suggested fingers, pebbles, knotted cords, and strings of beads or berries as a means of counting, when it was desired to say a specific number of prayers. The earliest historical indications of the use of beads at prayer by Christians show, in this as in other things, a natural growth and development. Beads strung together or ranged on chains are an obvious improvement over the well-known primitive method instanced, for example, in the life of the Egyptian Abbot Paul (d. A.D. 341), who used to take three hundred pebbles into his lap as counters and to drop one as he finished each of the corresponding number of prayers it was his wont to say daily. In the eighth century the penitentials, or rule books pertaining to penitents, prescribed various penances of twenty, fifty, or more, paters. The strings of beads, with the aid of which such penances were accurately said, gradually came to be known as paternosters. Archaeological records mention fragments of prayer beads found in the tomb of the holy abbess Gertrude of Nivelles (d. 659); also similar devices discovered in the tombs of St. Norbert and of St. Rosalia, both of the twelfth century.

1140 AD
Doctrine of “Seven Sacraments”
1140, I expected to find one of the Lateran Councils defending them against Albigensian and Waldensian teachings, BUT I look up the year and find the publishing of Decretum Gratiani. Since it is Canon Law, it contains laws about all Seven Sacraments.

Just to be doubly sure, I will look up the Lateran Councils counted as Ecumenical too. I = 1123, II = 1139 (not 40), III = 1179, IV = 1215, V = well, that is later, 1512 – 1517.

All this is well a century after the schism of 1054.

The Orthox neither accept Decretum Gratiani (instead they have a canon law system called Pedalion or the Rudder), nor the Lateran Councils. Yet they also acknowledge same Seven Sacraments, with little variation in criteria and meaning. So, what would the Mexican have said if after leaving the Scotsman in Edinburgh on Sunday morning he had gone to Glasgow and seen the Scotsman’s brother (with whom his correspondence was briefer but not quite non-extant) also wear kilt? He had not seen the brother since Thursday, so the brother could not have gone mad same Sunday morning and they had no phone. In fact they had not been on speaking terms since Wednesday, when they met and quarrelled in Inverness, so a phone would not have been of any use. So, not likely the Edinburgh Scotsman really went mad on Sunday morning when his Glasgow brother wore it Sunday afternoon too and had not spoken to his Edinburgh brother since Wednesday.

Also, all of them are in the Gospels, or Acts or Epistles.

Yup, when it comes to Seven Sacraments, we proof-text them as clearly as if we had neither tradition nor magisterium. But we use these too, in case proof texting isn't enough to everyone.

1184 AD
The Inquisition
Ad abolendam, 4 November 1184. This one is correct insofar as Inquisition took a new turn with the threat from Albigensians/Cathars, Waldensians and a few more. They were renewing practical errors of the Iconoclast Emperors (it seems one of the Emperors of first Iconoclastic era, Constantine V Copronymus, was being honoured, along with Cain, Judas and a few more as a saint by the Cathars/Albigensians), and Albigensians/Cathars were also attacking Creation of Material World as an act of God. The first mention of reaction in this bull is the very traditional excommunication or anathema of the heretics.

The new thing is a great appeal to the collaboration of Secular arm in applying penalties for heresy. Since for Clerics this means deprivation of clerical dignity and also loss of the incomes associated with them and even for laymen my hasty perusal of the Latin text does not see any mention of death penalty, I suppose it was not around yet. When it came around, it applied to clerics too, as Giordano Bruno and Girolamo Savonarola were to find out.

Ad abolendam is a bit like the fairly new deal to extradict systematically child molesting and other pedophile priest offenders to the secular justice. When previously – just as combatting heresy previous to ad abolendam – priests guilty of not just sodomy or sexual immorality in general (including with adult women) but also of just touching a butt too obviously not by pure mishap were punished by the purely clerical discipline of defrocking.

But just as the modern deal does not specify from the side of the Church how many years a sexually offending priest must do in gaol, so also this deal did not specify what exact punishment state should give lay offenders, and the specification for clerical offenders was incompatible with death penalty being the prime goal for impenitent heretics. So, probably the Pope was not asking that about lay heretics either, but left the exact punishment open for the state to decide.

1190 AD
Sale of Indulgences
1195 an Indulgence was granted to Crusaders.

The first time indulgence was granted for monetary gifts to a project of the Church was the rebuilding of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This was shortly before Luther. Under Julius II.

The real facts serve to illustrate how little “sale of indulgences” has to do with Indulgences as they really were.

By the way, indulgences for monetary gifts were not just not continued after St Peter’s in Rome was rebuilt, they were even by the Council of Trent outlawed for the future, precisely because they could, as Luther had shown, be taken for “selling and buying” of an indulgence, hence of a Holy Thing, hence it would be simony.

Whoever made the timeline forgot to say “repealed” about the ”sale” part. But since there was nothing like “sale” until much later, the title is as erroneous as to think whisky is mistreated grappa or brandy.

1215 AD
Transsubstantiation and Confession instructed
IV Lateran Council certainly made INSTRUCTIONS on these topics. This nowhere near means it invented them.

It also made instructions about death penalty being applicable to heretics who refused to return to Catholic faith – obviously not meaning Copts or Nestorians, but the new group of heretics mentioned in Ad abolendam some decades earlier.

1220 AD
Adoration of the Wafer (Host) (worshipping of a piece of bread one has become convinced is the body of the Lord Jesus)
We DO believe the Word of the Word of God, yes. Nil hoc veritatis verbo verius. Nothing is more true than the Word of Truth. Thanks for reminding us.

As to those refusing to believe it, I am reminded of the guys taking leave of Christ in John chapter 6 (was it verse 66 too?) just after Christ had said so once before saying it finally at the Last Supper.

Your use of the word “wafer” for unleavened bread reminds me of the conflict of 1054 – do you consider Christ used ordinary leavened bread? I prefer to think he celebrated 14th of Nisan 24 hours earlier than the Jews who obeyed Caiaphas, probably in that case because sighting the new moon of first Nisan a day earlier too.

1229 AD
Bible forbidden to laymen
I cannot find a reference. A layman who knew Latin could certainly be allowed to read the Bible, in parts or in total. Biblical History was made available in certain vernaculars like the Rijmbijbel in Flemish based in Historia Scholastica. If you think ALL laymen should have been allowed to read the Bible in its entirety, consider readers such as authors of Sceptics Annotated and the fact that back then they would have been bad Catholics or even just nominal ones, not daring to declare their impiety (more probably Averroist than Atheist, back then).

1316 AD
The Ave Maria was introduced
Why then is there a Greek Orthodox corresponding prayer, the Theotoke Parthene?

Recall that brother in Glasgow, who was not on speaking terms with the one in Edinburgh since Wednesday and his also wearing kilt?

1414 AD
Cup forbidden to people at Communion
Not quite correct. Local forbiddings were common earlier, local allowings common later. Or if not common, occurring.

What happened was the condemnation of a proposal by Wycliff and Hus that such forbidding is unallowable. St Thomas had earlier argued that they were allowable, that only the priest who celebrated Mass was strictly obliged to communicate under both species.

Nice not to mention Hus and Jerome of Prague were burned. The occasion was the Council of Constance. But of course, it would have perhaps been “off topic”.

The more permanent decisions were among others, and also in this respect, the condemnation of several theses of Wycliff:

In the eighth session it was question of Wyclif, whose writings had already been condemned at the Council of Rome (1412-13) under John XXIII. In this session forty-five propositions of Wyclif, already condemned by the universities of Paris and Prague, were censured as heretical, and in a later session another long list of 260 errors. All his writings were ordered to be burned and his body was condemned to be dug up and cast out of consecrated ground (this was not done until 1428 under Bishop Robert Fleming of Lincoln). In 1418 Martin V, by the aforesaid Bull "Inter Cunctas", approved the action of the council (Mansi, op. cit., XXVII, 1210 sq.; see WYCLIFFITES).

If you really hanker back to the wicked anti-Mass book The Wicket, you can probably reconstruct its content by looking at condemnations at the Council of Constance – if you believe Catholicism accurately represents the heresies it condemns. But in that case you should also accept our description, and not Foxe’s of what Albigensian doctrines were.

But cup was not forbidden to all laymen, and tyrannicide was not forbidden to all vassals and subjects. Despite rumours to the contrary.

1439 AD
Purgatory officially decreed
If hereby you mean “decreed as dogma”, yes.

As said, a truth can go through several stages of recognition. In Florence Council, the truth of Purgatory was so studied that council dared proclaim it as Dogma. This was opposed by Mark of Ephesus, who, however, neither opposed indulgences (non-monetary indulgence works being in use among Greeks since apostles and one of them since Tobit) nor prayers for the dead. He also very clearly affirmed prayers for the dead. But he seems to have believed all are between death and final judgement after resurrection in a kind of soul sleep.

This position had even earlier been declared heretical in the West, mainly for the honour of Saints whose souls are already now wide awake in Heaven. John XXII had to retract having agreed with Greeks on soul sleep – which makes it ironic that Schismatic Greeks invoke him as example for Popes having been heretic, while on exact same issue considering Mark of Ephesus one of the three superpatristic saints called “defenders of Orthodoxy”.

1439 AD
Seven Sacraments affirmed
Over again, yes.

1545 AD
Tradition granted equal authority with the Bible
So you consider Sunday worship (one of the “traditiones non scriptae”) has less authority than Sabbath worship which in OT is textually biblical?

You consider Sign of the Cross (another one of them) has less authority than the Bible?

The really extra-biblical-textual (but not extra-biblical-doctrinal) traditions are pretty few. They are also pretty practical and down to earth.

You consider perhaps that an authoritative list on what books belong to New Testament is less authoritative than the books of the NT?

But in that case, how do we get to know where the authoritative divinely inspired texts are?

By a merely fallible, a merely human, tradition? I think not!

By a proof text for all books? There is not even one direct such.

No, by Apostolic tradition, which locally wavered but always somewhere included each canonic book of NT, always somewhere excluded the books that not belong to NT (like Didaché, which rather accurately resumes the teaching of the Twelve but is probably not by them, or like Pastor Hermas). And same thing goes for meaning of the received texts.

Some prophetic texts may indeed still contain enigmas which are only now (if I am correct) starting to get unraveled, like personal identity of latter day actors. But most texts having applications in the lives of Christians of all times, what is their use if one verse can mean one thing in one century and the opposite in the next?

And there are such things as words being or even becoming ambiguous.

Saint Paul considers his members obey “the law of sin”, but Catholic Theology has since those words narrowed the meaning of sin to acts or states that merit your damnation. Reformers then pick on that passage with a new meaning and conclude there is no such thing as real sanctification and justification and conclude the justification of a sinner must be juridical, God deciding to look through his fingers with regards to the justice of Christ which merely covers but doesn’t change the corruption. False. Saint Paul simply used the word “sin” in a broader sense as sth which is against the original state of Creation which God saw as “very good”. And therefore “tradition of exegesis” always maintained that involuntary events of concupiscence in our bodies are not damning sins, and the same goes for involuntary events of anger in our thoughts.

Reformers stating these things are damning sins (applying scholastic terminology to Bible texts using an older and less used one) are both hideously misrepresenting the Justice of God and the Justification through Christ.

1546 AD
Apocrypha received into Canon
As said, though local traditions differed for a time on which books belong to NT, the question was decided in the 400 – 410 decade for West, later for East, by tradition, by deliberate harmonising of local traditions.

One did not in 410 decide out of nowhere to include Apocalypse too, and would not have done it, if there had not been weighty local traditions in favour of it.

So also, ecclesiastical tradition had been in favour of Septuagint Books all belonging to canon. This gives a definitely more than 66 book Bible, and Trent confirms the minimum for the Latin West. Trent does not actively condemn, as far as I can see, non-Latin traditions that include additional books like IV Maccabees or chapters like Psalm 151.

1854 AD
Doctrine of Immaculate Conception
No, doctrine was already there, this is the year it becomes elevated to DOGMA. Please recall the difference between dogma and doctrine.

There had been local parts of Scotland where wearing kilt was simply not done – Lowlands (including of course Edinburgh) up to Robert Burns and those guys. Similarily there had been a local tradition against the full extent of Immaculate Conception (but not against all of it), which was taken up by reformers, spread to Russian Orthodox, excepting Old Believers, and by 1854 had become so typical of non-Catholics that those remaining in the Church of God could among other arguments consider the topic settled by defection of those still holding opposite view.

1864 AD
“Syllabus of Errors” – temporal power of the Pope proclaimed
That is like saying “Genesis” – Jews were promised Holy Land. That is a way of making Genesis hateful to a Palestinian, isn't it?

How about saying Genesis and Syllabus of Errors by Pius IX (there are a few others by other Popes and Bishops, notably Pope St Pius X and Bishop Tempier) have important things to say about God and Creation and Man and Sin of Adam and Human Society after the Fall, and Redemption? Both do that too.

I do not know which "temporal power" you mean : the right of Papacy to keep the Papal States which was being attacked by vile Modernist Italian nationalists, who destroyed decent life for part of the young population after doing so, or whether you mean the right of Church and hence Pope to an indirect power over states insofar as having a direct power over religion in a Catholic society. The former is a gift of Constantine, or at the very latest of Charlemagne. But the latter is a mission given by Christ in Matthew 28:18-20. It is included in "making NATIONS" (not just individuals from nations) "disciples" and in "teaching them to KEEP" all Christ commanded.

1870 AD
Plus a few other things, including a reaffirmation of Scripture and Tradition being infallible and inerrant, because coming from God's Revelation.

Yes, Church is infallible (which is Scriptural), Pope is head of Church on Earth (which is Scriptural), hence Pope is head of an infallible community and must as such be infallible not always and every time but whenever acting very solemnly as head of all the Church.

1950 AD
“Assumption of the Virgin Mary” (teaching the Virgin Mary ascended bodily into heaven without dying)
It is disputed whether her never dying first is part of definition or not. It was not totally clear.

One passage of the Bull seems hard to excuse from error. Then again, it's ambiguous and not part of central definition and even so there are "independent Catholic" groups of which some were separate from already Pius XII.

Update after midnight: after dying and getting buried She was resurrected and lifted up body and soul to Heaven. This is an Apostolic Tradition. Probably happened after Acts was written.

1965 AD
Mary pronounced “Mother” of the Church

If she is Mother of the Head, she is Mother of Its Body, I’d presume.

1966 AD
Pope John Paul II dismissed the “widespread idea that one can obtain forgiveness directly from God”

Clearly a forgery or grave misunderstanding : the man considered back then by most as Pope (I’m one of those disputing him the title) was “Paul VI”. Also, whether before or after Vatican II, Catholics have said one can in exceptional circumstances obtain forgiveness without going to a priest one of these exceptional circumstances might for instance being that without ones own fault, so far, one has never been aware one should normally go to a priest for grave sins committed after baptism.

So, that is why I cannot really not just believe, but even take totally seriously the Protestant version of Church History - or this kind of Protestant version. It is anyway a secondary help to keeping up the Reformation, and not the original cause for it.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
& Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St George, Soldier and Martyr