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Ang gumawa po ng article ay si Binibining Lou Echano Dominguiano. Isa sa mga friends ko sa Facebook.
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(Writers Note: This is the first part of a series of papers that discuss point by point the objections and accusations raised against the Catholic Church. My overarching reason for this essay is that which St. Peter taught: “Bless the Lord Christ in your hearts. Always have a ready answer when you are called upon to account for your hope, but give it simply and with reverence.” (1Pet 3:15). This work was culled from various teachings of the Church, theologians, Biblical scholars, authors, apologists and contained quotes from our early Church Fathers. It was a research done out of zeal for our brothers and sisters who were led astray from the Catholic Church. Therefore, I submit myself to the final correction of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.)
Let me begin by emphasizing the most important issue that I deemed necessary to set the stage for an enlightened discussion.
THE DOCTRINE “BIBLE ALONE” IS NOT TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE
I would like to ask anti-Catholics this question: Where exactly in the Bible that says Scripture alone is the sole authority in matters of faith and morals? What passage? Where exactly in the Bible that says the Bible alone can settle everything that concern a Christian?
Start consulting the Bible first and foremost. 2 Tim 3:16 says “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof….” Yes. But it doesn’t speak of Scripture “alone” or the exclusivity of the Bible in this aspect.
Sola Scriptura is nowhere taught in the Scripture, nowhere even implied! The very foundational principle of Protestantism, the doctrine upon which all others are built, is not found in the very book it supposedly builds a bulwark to support (Steve Ray, Crossing the Tiber, 1997).
You say, the Bible alone is the Word of God. Where does Scripture tells us that “God’s word” can and must only be in written form, typed on paper or parchment? If that is so, why was the printing press invented only in the 15th century when our Lord wants each and every one of us to have a printed Bible as a sole rule of our faith?
Jesus Christ himself never wrote anything down (other than that unknown word on the ground), and it was not recorded that he ever commissioned his followers to write everything down.
But, did Jesus promise us an authoritative Church? Yes and so did the Apostles (1 Tim 3:15). When did St. Paul’s spoken words ceased being the word of God? After the sound-wave vibrations fell from the air? How would God preserve his spoken word? It is through the tradition in the heart of the Church! These are just basic truths and it’s amazing that Protestants missed them for so long and why others are blind to them.
Steve Ray (1997) said it is not commonly realized that not until the late 4th century, there was no final list of canonical books, no established New Testament. The span between the crucifixion and the determination of the canonization of Scripture was almost 400 years after the Resurrection of Christ!
So how did the early Christians thrive without a leather-bound New Testament under their arms? How did they convert the whole Roman Empire? Was their foundational and operative principle sola Scriptura? What sufficient rule of faith did they have to govern the Church, teach the catechumens, and resist heresy which they did so well? The answer is short. It survived through the Apostolic tradition, preserved through Apostolic succession within the Catholic Church. The reason we go back again to the fact that the doctrine sola Scriptura is a fallacious argument.
John 21: 25 tells us: “Jesus did many things, if all were written down, the world itself would not hold the books recording them.”
Just as the Catholic Church is Trinitarian (we believe in one God in three divine persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), she also preserves the three vital bonds that compose the entire deposit of Faith:
1. The Magisterium of the Church
2. The Sacred Scripture
3. The Sacred Tradition
The Catholic Church believes in the TRIUNE GOD (ONE God in Three Divine Persons); Likewise, all three i.e. the Magisterium of the Church, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are important that one cannot do away with the other. Christ established an Infallible and Authoritative Teaching Authority guided by the Holy Spirit based on the Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The Magisterium is the Infallible Interpreter of Scripture, Faith and Morals.
Do we have to believe in the Bible? Yes, of course. But the problem lies when your belief becomes stubbornly “Bible alone”.
(Note: I received an email saying that my essay “Bible alone is not the sole authority” is right. That being so, he thinks the Da Vinci Code and other materials might have some truths since not all things were written in the Bible. Oh my, it’s worse. I replied and told him that he misinterpreted my essay, because the DVC is not the Church of the Living God, which is the pillar and foundation of Truth (1Tim 3:15).
THE GREAT IRONY
Protestants, Evangelicals, Baptists, Born Agains and other denominations, whether they realize it or not, have to trust the Catholic tradition to know which books are in their canon.
What basis do Protestants and the rest of the “Bible-only” denominations have for trusting the 27 writings that make up the New Testament? The answer comes back, “We trust them because they are inspired.” Yes, but how do you know they are inspired? There were many hundreds of writings and epistles passing from hand to hand, city to city, province to province in the early Roman Empire.
The truth is, Protestants, Fundamentalists, Baptists, Evangelicals, Born-Agains, Iglesia Ni Manalo , Ang Dating Daan, etc., whether they realize it or not, must admit that they have to trust the Catholic tradition to know which books are in their canon. It was not until the authoritative voice of the Catholic Church spoke that the New Testament was declared a canon with the current 27 books.
These “Bible-only” denominations have by necessity trusted the determination of the Catholic Church. This is the great irony: While rejecting all the other decrees of the councils as non-authoritative including the Pope as allegedly Anti-Christ and dictator, Protestants arbitrarily accept without question the tradition establishing the canon of the New Testament.
The greater irony is that they must trust the declaration of the “alleged fallible Church” (the Catholic Church which they accuse of being unsound, pagan and ***** of Babylon) to know which books make up their infallible New Testament. What kind of thinking is that?!
The issue of the canon is an unsolvable problem for Born-Agains and other Protestant movements (Protestants comes from the word protest. They are protesters or rebels). So, the dilemma for Protestants, Born-Agains and other Bible-only believing Christians is this: For if one cannot ascertain which books belong in the Bible, how can one presume to use it “alone” as a reliable and guide to saving faith in God?
The funny thing is that while Anti-Catholic propagandists use the theory Sola Scriptura or Bible alone to advance their attacks on the Catholic Church, they have no infallible way of knowing what comprises Scripture in the first place. That is the great overarching burden of all Protestant pastors and theologians.
For the sake of argument, they say the Catholic Church did not give us the canon, the Holy Spirit did. There is no argument between Catholics and Protestant, etc. on that point. Of course, the Holy Spirit gave the canon of the Bible. The real question is how He gave it. How did the Holy Spirit communicate the knowledge of the canon to the Church? The fact that the Holy Spirit gave the canon to the Catholic Church, then they must admit that the Holy Spirit guided the Catholic Church into an infallible decision.
The truth is Protestants, Born-Agains and all the other “Bible-only” believing Christians are living off the borrowed capital of the Catholic Church, for it was the Catholic Church that infallibly recognized, under the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, the canon of Scripture. Each time Protestants, Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Baptists, Born-Agains, Iglesia ni Manalo, Ang Dating Daan, etc. quote from the Bible, they acknowledge their trust in the infallible divine guidance given to the Catholic Church by Christ. Ergo, with this they unwittingly violate Sola Scriptura.
THE ONE TRUE CHURCH
You may be thinking: How can we be certain that the Catholic Church is the True Church apart from other Christian denominations? The Bible says, “The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth.” (1Tim 3:15). So with thousands of denominations all claiming to be the Church founded by Christ, which one is it?
Filipino Catholic Apologist Ed De Vera (2005) explained that the word denomination is a derivative of Latin de and nomen – to rename. The Catholic Church does not need renaming. She is not a denomination but the One True Church Christ established 2000 years ago. A foundation proven from the Bible: Jesus clearly, solemnly, and categorically said, “I will build My Church” – not churches – upon Peter (Mt. 16: 17-19) commanding him to feed and tend His sheep (Jn 21: 15-17). He left us with a steward.
Jesus will build – not you nor I nor anybody else, therefore the Church is divinely instituted, not a mere human institution.
Church and Peter are inseparable: Where Peter is, there is the Church wrote St. Ambrose in 377. After Peter came Linus, followed by Anacletus, then Clement I, Evaristus, Alexander I, Sixtus I, Telesophorus, and onward twenty centuries in unbroken line of succession to the 265th Vicar of Christ and Shepherd of His flock, Benedict XVI. Clement who is mentioned in Philippians (Phil 4:3 ) and succeeded Anacletus attested to Petrine succession in his Papal Letter to the Corinthians in 96 AD (De Vera, 2005).
The Catholic Church collated the Bible at Hippo in 393. She is thus the True Bible-Church where the full Gospel is found in Liturgy, the proper venue for proclaiming the Word of God. She holds the Councils and Synods to deliberate, clarify, and enact decrees pertaining to the belief and life of the Church. In all Christendom she is the fearless defender and champion of life, family, morals and human dignity – speaking with authority against abortion, divorce, and immorality. Never compromising on morals and unfortunately ridiculed, as was Christ for boldly speaking the truth. Is that what you call Apostasy?
De Vera (2005) in his book Catholic Soul, issued these challenging questions: Which church enjoined humanity to celebrate the Great Jubilee of Jesus Christ in 2000, consecrating the new Millennium to the Holy Trinity, preceding the anniversary with ecclesiastically-dedicated years to Jesus in 1997, Father 1998, and Holy Spirit 1999? What church can trace its roots historically back through Patristic antiquity to Apostolic foundations in the Scriptures? Where are Apostolic Doctrines intact? Who established the commemoration of Sunday, Easter, and Christmas that Christians observe? Even Encyclopedia Britannica, a secular source defines “Catholic Church” as the one founded by Christ 2000 years ago!
St. Ignatius the Bishop of Antioch, a disciple of John the Evangelist, said while awaiting execution in prison dated 107 A.D.(2nd century), “Where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church”. He called the Christian church Catolicos –which means universal, a term also applied by Irenaeus (3rd century), Ambrose (4th century), and Augustine (5th century).
My study of the writings of the Church Fathers revealed that the early Church believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, confession of sins to a priest, baptismal regeneration, salvation by faith and good works done through grace, that one could reject God’s grace and forfeit salvation, that the bishop of Rome is the head of the Church, that Mary is the Mother of God and was perpetually a virgin, that intercessory prayer can be made to the saints in heaven, that purgatory is a state of temporary purification which some Christians undergo before entering heaven.
Except for the perpetual virginity and divine motherhood of Mary which Luther, Calvin and Zwingli did not question, all of these doctrines were repudiated by modern Protestants. Unlike their forebears, however, later generation of Protestants went so far as abandoning all these beliefs including that of Mary.
For the sake of argument, if the Catholic Church is indeed in error to hold these beliefs, then it was in error long before Constantine allegedly legalized Christianity. This would mean that the Church apostatized before the end of the first century, when the apostles were still alive? An absurd theory which even the most anti-Catholic of Protestants can’t quite bring themselves to accept.
What I discovered from my study was that the present-day Catholic interpretations of Scriptures were held by the earliest Christians. They were passed down by Sacred Tradition and preserved and disseminated just as carefully as the Scripture was preserved and copied.
TO BE CONTINUED…
The New American Bible
Crossing the Tiber by Stephen Ray (1997) Ignatius Press
Catholic Soul by Ed De Vera (2005) Totus Publishing and Shepherd’s Voice Publication
Surprise by Truth: Stories of converts and the historical and biblical reasons for becoming Catholic (vol. 1 and 2) edited by Patrick Madrid. (1994 and 2000) Totus Bookstore and Publishing
Catholic Doctrine in Scripture by Gregory Oatis
Rome Sweet Home: A Journey to Catholicism by Scott and Kimberly Hahn (1993). Ignatius Press
What Catholics Really Believe-Setting the Record Straight: 52 Answers to Common Misconceptions About the Catholic Faith by Karl Keating (1992) Ignatius Press
Writings of the First Christians by Charles Belmonte (1996) Stadium Theologiae Foundation, Inc.
The Apostolic Fathers by Joseph Barber Lightfoot
Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Know the Truth Magazine published by Fr. Paul Kaiparambadan (2006, Malabon, Phils.)
The Church Jesus Founded. (23 Sept 2006) An unpublished paper by Atty. Marwil Llasos given during the Apologetics Seminar sponsored by Defensores Fidei Foundation. Totus 2/F Red Ribbon Blg. Greenhills, San Juan.
Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (7 Oct. 2006). An unpublished paper by Mr. Carlos Palad, A.B. Philosophy, UP Diliman, Holds two certificates from VLCFF on the Old Testament and New Testament.
Church History (14 Oct. 2006). An unpublished paper by Mr. Carlos Palad, A.B. Philosophy, UP Diliman; member, Una Voce America; member, Defensores Fidei Foundation.
Interview with Atty. Marwil Llasos (23 Sept. 2006). Resource Speaker on the topic Church Magisterium during the Apologetics Seminar held in Greenhills. (Bro. Llasos is a Commissioned Lay Preacher in the Diocese of Novaliches and serves in various capacities in different Catholic Church ministries and apostolate, both locally and internationally.)
Lecture Discussion and Open-Forum on Sacraments of Holy Order, Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist by Rev. Fr. Abraham P. Arganiosa, CRS (21 Oct. 2006) Apologetics Seminar held in Greenhills. Fr. Arganiosa is the host of apologetics program, The Splendor of The Church in Aemilianum College media station (AITV 5) and co-host of the Diocesan radio program, Hello, Father! (Wednesday Edition, DZGN-FM).
Catholic Answers website at http://www.catholic.com/default.asp
Dr. Scott Hahn links page at http://www.mindspring.com/~jdarcy/files/…
Stephen K. Ray website at http://www.catholic-convert.com/
G.K. Chesterton’s writings at http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/
Carl Olson, editor of http://www.IgnatiusInsight.com
For the writings of our early Church Fathers on various topics i.e. Church and the Papacy, Scripture and Tradition, Mary and Saints, Sacraments, Salvation, God and Christ, The Last Things/Purgatory at “http://www.catholic.com/library/fathers_know_best.asp
Many Protestants over the years have abandoned their careers and prominence in Protestantism to convert to Catholicism. This is true now more than ever, and a large and growing body of convert literature attests to the strength of this movement. Each year, an estimated 200,000 converts are received into the Catholic Church.
In the books Surprised by Truth (vol. 1, 2 and 3), Patrick Madrid compiled conversion stories of people from all walks of life (atheists, Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Pentecostals, etc.) who give their biblical, theological, and historical reasons for becoming Catholic. (For an excerpt from “Surprised by Truth”: http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/surprise.htm
To be continued daw…
Ibig sabihin may aabangan pa tayong kasunod. Excited na ako. Hehe.