Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pope ‘insisted on waiting his turn’ for medical treatment

There has been an awful lot of fuss over a fractured wrist. Yet we are talking about the spiritual leader of more than a billion people, and it was his ‘blessing’ hand, which is the spiritual equivalent of President Obama’s nuclear finger. And he is 82 and very popular. And it has (thankfully) overshadowed Cherie Blair’s swine flu, who is only 54 and about whom no-one really gives a damn. Except, perhaps, her husband.

But Cranmer is disappointed that the mainstream media have missed the real story in the Pope’s misfortune.

It is reported in passing that when he arrived at the local hospital for an x-ray, he joined the queue and insisted on waiting his turn.

He insisted on being treated ‘like any other patient’.

How many world leaders would do that?

Could you see an injured Barack Obama going to his local hospital and waiting in a long queue of injured Americans haggling with the ER receptionist over their Medicare entitlement? Or Gordon Brown in need of surgery but being content to register on an NHS waiting list only to be summoned on a date which suits them, and then being cancelled two or three times while they deal with a more deserving case?

The Pope manifested an exemplary Christian witness: a true expression of humility; the very incarnation of ‘he who is last shall be first’.

It is widely held that politicians are venal creatures, and religious leaders are largely held in contempt. The example of His Holiness is the precise antidote necessary to heal the patient – not to be engaged in as some superficial PR exercise which ensures that photographs are taken under a convenient ‘Waiting Room’ sign while journalists are briefed on the ‘humble meekness’ line they should take; but a genuine humility authentically expressed from the heart: outward visible signs of inward spiritual sincerity.

George Bernard Shaw once declared: "The Church must learn humility, as well as teach it.” Is it not refreshing that there is one world leader who is seen to possess integrity; who speaks truth from the heart against the zeitgeist? True humility – about which our politicians appear to know very little – is being humble about the right things in the right way and at the right times. As GK Chesterton observed: "What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has settled on the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself but undoubting about the truth. This has been exactly reversed."

Christian humility has become a hidden virtue. In a vain and boastful world obsessed with the self, the ego, convenience and the pursuit of gratification, God still gives grace to the humble. In humility is wisdom. As TS Eliot glimpsed: "The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility.”

But rather like the Mozart sonatas which His Holiness is fond of playing, humility is most understood and best appreciated when it is performed rather than merely scored, defined or preached about. The dictionary may talk of meekness, self-denial, self-deprecation, abasement and self-sacrifice. But these are just black notes on a page.

The symphony of humility is found only it is performance. And those who have time for others, who are more interested in others and who express genuine sympathy for others, are the true servants of the people.


Blogger Gnostic said...

Good for him.

Now lets see Gordon Brown do the right thing and resign.

PS my verification is "cation" a positive charge. Coincidence? ;D

19 July 2009 at 10:44  
Blogger Jim Bartlet said...

I read this one like a poised crocodile in the pond of heresy, in anticipation of the dreaded paddle slap, but it never came! God Bless youR Grace.

19 July 2009 at 11:37  
Anonymous oiznop said...

I think you are unkind to Cherie Blair/Booth.

She can't help being ugly and married to a venal, inprincipled, lying, war-mongering, duplicitous fraud.

19 July 2009 at 11:43  
Anonymous Laird said...

Now all the cardinals and bishops
should follow the pope's example instead of strutting around behaving like princes.

19 July 2009 at 11:53  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

The Pope manifested an exemplary Christian witness...

...which is more than he managed when, as Cardinal, he sought to obstruct the investigation of child sex abuse. But, hey, who cares about that?

Al Murray, the Pub Landlord, on Tony Blair: ‘He has shown that he is capable of taking an unpalatable decision and then seeing it through to the bitter end. I mean, how many times has he got that woman pregnant?’

19 July 2009 at 11:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has it been established what the pope was actually doing with his wrist when he broke it?

19 July 2009 at 12:03  
Anonymous cynthia said...

I don't like him. He looks shifty.
Got cruel eyes.

19 July 2009 at 12:55  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Don't get smug Bartlet,it's coming
when you least expect it!And rightly so too Your Grace.

19 July 2009 at 13:24  
Blogger Stefan said...

Your Grace - you missed out what struck me as the most amazing thing. By all newspaper accounts I've read, he celebrated Mass BEFORE going to hospital! This must have been painful, but is typical of the Pope's dedication. Best wishes for his speedy recovery!

19 July 2009 at 13:27  
Blogger English Viking said...

These things ought he to have done, and not left the others undone.

19 July 2009 at 13:35  
Anonymous the recusant said...

In response to Mr Johnny Rottenborough, “but, hey, who cares about that?”

The then Cardinal Ratzinger was referring to an earlier document released in 1962 which refers to an even earlier document of 1867. You can read the original document that sparked the revelations by the Observer Here. Contrary to the sensationalised reporting it was not with regard to sexual abuse by priests, but specifically with regard to the ecclesiastical crime of solicitation.

It's a document governing the ecclesiastical prosecution in ecclesiastical courts of priests who commit the ecclesiastical crime of solicitation. It stresses that someone who is witness to the ecclesiastical crime of solicitation is obliged to report it to the competent ecclesiastical authority so that this ecclesiastical crime of solication does not remain hidden. The ecclesiastical crime of solicitation relates specifically to the Sacrament of Penance where a priest in connection with the Sacrament seduces the penitent or allows himself to be seduced by the penitent. It's not about the sexual abuse of minors as the ecclesiastical crime of solicitation relates only to the Sacrament of Penance and can involve adults as well as minors. If you look up the word "solicitation" in a regular dictionary, you won't find the definition in there as it is ecclesiastical "jargon"

The ecclesiastical crime of solicitation is very serious as it is an abuse of the Sacrament of Penance. That's why laypeople were obliged to report it. You should keep in mind that at the same time it is important to protect the reputation of a priest who may be innocent.

You should also keep in mind that many if not most or even the vast majority of cases of the ecclesiastical crime of solication wouldn't be a crime under civil law. Let me just give you one such hypothetical, simplified example: Suppose a priest hears the confession of a 30 year old woman. The 30 year old woman during the confession tells the priest: "Father, let's have a one night stand." The priest instead of saying, "No that is wrong" says, "OK let's do it tonight" then by that very fact the priest would be guilty of the ecclesiastical crime of solicitation. As you can see this is grossly misreported in the secular media due to their wilful ignorance and hatred of the Catholic faith and of Jesus Christ.

Mr Johnny Rottenborough asks who cares, the Catholic Church cares that why they produced the documents in the first place, this is your ‘evidence’, care to read it or just make cheap insinuations?

19 July 2009 at 14:25  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ the recusant—Sorry if I touched a raw nerve. I saw a documentary on the BBC a few years ago about child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in the Republic of Ireland; it focused particularly on the diocese of Ferns. I came away with the impression that the Church hierarchy had done its utmost to protect the priests: known priestly pædophiles were moved to another parish, diocese or country where they continued to indulge their predilection. A subsequent film, shown on Panorama, tracked an English priest to his hiding place in, as I remember, a static caravan park in Los Angeles. These cases of abuse occurred when Cardinal Ratzinger held an influential—to put it mildly—position in the Vatican. Why did he allow the priests to be spirited away, rather than handed over to the police?

19 July 2009 at 15:29  
Blogger John Woolman said...

The interesting things about Cherie Blair's swine flu are what the reports don't tell us. Was the diagnosis confirmed by nasal swabbing and was she treated with Tamiflu or Relenza? I suppose we will have as much chance of hearing about it in her next book as we had of hearing whether or not Leo had the MMR vaccine in her last book. Mercifully, now she has reached the age of 54, we won't hear again about her inability to cope with what CS Lewis described as "the usages of Sulva" in her next book.

Rereading this, I wonder if I am being too hard on her. I think not. If his parent's had said that Leo had had MMR, then there would have been a positive public health benefit from that statement. If she were to say how she was being treated for Swine Flu, whether it be with antivirals, paracetamol and whisky or healing crystals, this would be of interest as reflecting the choice made by an intelligent and articulate woman. Which she undoubtedly is.

19 July 2009 at 15:30  
Anonymous Bethel said...

Yes it's true-if you are not first, or trying to be first, you are looked down on nowadays. Humility isn't just out of fashion, it has become a misunderstood trait in a society where people look down on you for expecting others to take responsibility for their own behaviour. There's no belief in a higher judgement.
I'm 'with' the Archbish in his expressed views today!

19 July 2009 at 15:36  
Anonymous churchmouse said...

His fingers looked a bit blue, in the picture I saw. Not good. Hope they're taking care of him.

19 July 2009 at 16:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She sailed away on a sunny summer day
On the back of a crocodile
"You see," said she, "he's as tame as tame can be,
I'll ride him down the Nile."

The croc winked his eye as she bade them all goodbye
Wearing a happy smile
At the end of the ride, the lady was inside,
And the smile was on the crocodile!

Dib Dib Dib!

19 July 2009 at 16:26  
Anonymous len said...

The spiritual leader of a billion people,truly staggering.
However he is not my spiritual leader.
The catholic systems emphasis on merit, works-based salvation and veneration of Mary and the saints are issues that those committed to 'sola scriptura' could never endorse or affirm.Whilst I can appreciate the moral stand on life and marriage of the papacy, i resolutely maintain that my High Priest is Jesus Christ in whom I have direct access to the true and living God.
I wish Mr Ratzinger a speedy recovery.

19 July 2009 at 16:59  
Anonymous Brian E. said...

Somewhat to my surprise, the hospitals appear to be far better in Italy than in Britain. My daughter, when on holiday in Italy had major problems with her pregnancy. She went into A&E, was seen almost immediately and given treatment which helped prevent yet another miscarriage. It had previously taken her more time at our local A&E to just see the Triage Nurse. I may be a cynic, but perhaps there is no four hour wait for attention in the Rome A&E.

19 July 2009 at 18:16  
Anonymous bertrand said...

I know the headlines would be a little confusing, but I wish His Grace would cross the Tiber.

19 July 2009 at 19:00  
Anonymous holymoley said...

The papacy is a corrupt office leading a horribly corrupt institution. Small acts like this make the incumbent seem more human but there are far greater overriding issues that remain unaddressed.

Let's face it any other organisation that - as an example - responded to paedophilia by hiding the alleged offences and protected the perpetrators would have been closed down years ago.

Along with other factors like the fact that the Vatican Bank is widely known as a money launderer (just Google Vatican Bank + money laundering and review the thousands of matches)and the collusion of assorted cardinals with oppressive fascist regimes - particularly with Franco and assorted Latin American juntas there is more than enough evidence to argue that the Church is a cancer on societies where it plays a prominent role.

This is not to say that there aren't many fine individuals within its ranks but that the organisation itself is irredeemably rotten.

19 July 2009 at 19:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless Your Grace. And His Holiness.

19 July 2009 at 19:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This pope had to use diplomatic immunity in the US due to his cover up policy. What other organisation would get away with their crimes ?

19 July 2009 at 20:12  
Anonymous Lady Virginia Droit de Seigneur said...

Anon - in the 1980s Archbisop Paul Marcinkus (head of the Vatican Bank) had to stay inside the Vatican to avoid arrest and interrogation by the Italian police.

A corrupt organisation long in bed with crime families and fascists.


19 July 2009 at 20:39  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Thankyou your grace for your articulation of a very modern problem G.K Chesterton perhaps is outlining the degree of dysfunctionality.

The arcane practices of our parliment and its unwritten constitution , were meant to test this problem , by engageing members to be on there honour , that is, for them not to behave in a dishonourable way as servants.

Humility does allow the truth to speak louder or even heard better, but what does one do, when one does not get answer that contains the truth ?? and they obfuscate to avoid there own error ??.

parliment is being dishonoured by such people and the public dis served .

I am not so sure if we are to have humility where corruption has to be uprooted , but I agree that egos can be all to inflated and miss the truth also.

There can be little more cruel in the understanding of power ,than a hero of the epic achieveing a godless cause.

19 July 2009 at 23:23  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr Johnny Rottenborough

Are you familiar with the term Schadenfreude, it’s pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others, which seems to be the predominant theme of your post. I do not pretend to excuse what has gone before, I can nether change it or remove it only regret it, but I wonder at those who after the fact take a morose delectation in savouring the events and raising them at every opportunity. There is a little too much hint of self righteous spite for my taste. Lest you claim a Christian dimension to your TV viewing habits I would remind you of Proverbs 24:17-18

"Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him."

You have identified both the Observer and the BBC, throw in the Guardian and you will have the Fourth Estate Ménage à trois La Perfecta Mon. Such an enlightened, fair minded and well balanced bunch of mal contents, and so well disposed to all things Christian, particularly the Catholic Church.

Can you tell me if the Roman Catholic clergy child sex abuse is worse than say that committed in the protestant church or close family members, or in schools, orphanages or foster homes? What about adopted children, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims or Orthodox Jews. What other programs have you watched and what other information can you share. Do you have any primary sourced investigation material or is it all from watching the TV and reading the Sunday sh*t sheets. Is it worse in Ireland than say Chilly, Russia or Abu Dhabi, what about service families, the Police or the Pitcairn Islands? As I am sure it pains you to share the sad litany of your viewing habits on the Blog perhaps you could show, oh so reluctantly of course, where your research has expanded to include qualitative and quantitative normative data giving perspective and depth to your research.

I don’t know you from Adam but for goodness sake take some responsibility for what you post, don’t just be the tool of a socialist inspired media, taking joy in spreading second hand rumour and slander. Even if there is an element of truth, it is a poor man that rejoices in such a trade.


Where in scripture does it say sola scriptura? There is not one verse anywhere in the Bible in which the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is taught; consequently it is a self-refuting doctrine.

Lady Virginia Droit de Seigneur

You may like to add to Archbishop Marcinkus list of alleged transgressions murdering John Paul I, Roberto Calvi and Michelle Sindona, laundering Nazi gold, Mafia money, Masonic lodge money and Vatican Bank money. As this seems to be the place to post unsubstantiated rumours today why not add he was also responsible for the Inquisition, the Black Death and let’s not forget keeping the Da Vinci Code secret. Well there’s no smoke without fire is there?

20 July 2009 at 00:36  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

It is admirable that you are defending your faith so rigorously
however this is an anglican site and country and there are historical prejudices against Catholicism.So you have to be btter prepared with facts and figures for the onslaught.The child abuse aspect highlighted in the media is always going to be thrown at you.When a religion like Catholicism sets such exacting standards one has to expect to be pounced on when the clergy fall from grace.

Rank and file Catholics suffer from this criticism and if the pope was as fiesty as you are these
priests should be thrown out stripped of their magical powers
and handed over to the police.This is not being disloyal,you're well rid of them.

A couple of questions.Did a 30 year
old really ask you for a one night stand in the confessional and why did you knock back the 50 year old?

20 July 2009 at 01:31  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

The above post is @ recusant

20 July 2009 at 02:23  
Anonymous len said...

The recusant,
If you do not stand by the sole authority of scripture you can make up anything and call it 'tradition'.
Your defence of the catholic religious system( that is what it is) is in my opinion misguided .
Jesus didn`t come to give a new law, a new religious system,
He came to give Himself.

20 July 2009 at 08:17  
Anonymous Laird said...

@ Bertand

20 July 2009 at 08:38  
Anonymous bertrand said...

Why not?

As for the claim by Len that If you do not stand by the sole authority of scripture you can make up anything and call it 'tradition'....

I think you'll find that without that Tradition, you wouldn't be able to identify what constitutes Scripture and what doesn't. 'Twas the Church that wrote it and the Church that compiled it.

Cranmer, come home.

20 July 2009 at 10:46  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

It must have been repetitive strain syndrome,a natural occurance for people with too much hands on thier time.

20 July 2009 at 10:48  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

'Except, perhaps, her husband'

Is there any evidence at all that this might be so?

20 July 2009 at 10:58  
Anonymous A Catholic said...

An excellent video from Catholics, Come Home:

20 July 2009 at 11:17  
Anonymous Laird said...

I feel very sorry for anyone interested in the Catholic faith who watches the video Catholics come home.This was once a religion steeped in a wonderful culture fervent in pursuit of excellence art music literature reduced to a tawdry american apple pie low rent
event.It's an absolute disgrace.
The few remaining discerning
Catholics must be so offended and if appealing to the lowest common denominator guarantees large number of recruits (this may explain one billion catholics)potential recruits might consider joining a circus instead.

20 July 2009 at 12:24  
Anonymous bertrand said...

Yes, I'm sure all the Catholics on earth became such as a consequence of watching an American video on YouTube. (It may have a naff soundtrack, but I think the video's actually pretty good, given it's for an American target audience.)

Still, for those looking for an excuse to remain severed from the Body of Christ, perhaps aesthetic objections to internet videos will suffice. I suppose this is the negative side of the truth Pascal observed with respect to the experience of God: that le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point.

20 July 2009 at 12:47  
Anonymous Laird said...

We are not severed from the Body of Christ. We are severed from Catholics. Christians in this country do not share your views or your religion.
'No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says.He is always convinced that it says what he means.'
well known English playwright

20 July 2009 at 13:19  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr sydneysider,

I’m not sure His Grace would agree with you that his site is an Anglican, his stated aim is to to expose religio-politics or politico-religiosity and although he is of the Anglo Reformed tradition I believe he would consider himself fully Catholic in accordance with the Nicene creed.
You are of course quite correct, there will not be any discussion regarding the Catholic Church today, or for many years to come that at some point does not relate back to the ugly abuse scandal. If it were not that it would equally be the inquisition, Galileo, the Cathars the Templars, the Crusades, Mariah Monk or Pope Joan. I can say there is a great feeling of betrayal and shame by these events in the Catholic community, not only at the harm done to those abused but to the good name of holy, God fearing and thoroughly decent Catholic Priests all over the world. Personally, I look at the actions of Judas, Peter and the disciples who deserted Jesus when He needed His friends most, He had to deal with far worse betrayal and we can handle this.

You are also correct, not about magical powers, the Pope does now strip all abuse priests of their holy orders, a bit late perhaps and we are well rid of them, but again we have to temper justice with mercy, even these men deserve reconciliation with Christ, otherwise what did He die for.

Now if I were to tell you what went on in those confessionals your ears would fall off?

20 July 2009 at 13:33  
Anonymous the recusant said...


Don’t you see all you have done is invent your own tradition and call it the sole authority of scripture, as a principal it’s unbiblical; nowhere in scripture does it say ‘only scripture’ or variation of, it’s a self negating invention. In addition surely you have to answer to your own satisfaction at least where was sola scriptura for the first 1300 years of the life of the church? Not one of the church fathers espoused sola scriptura, in fact the first Christians did not have a bible its canon was not settled until the 4th century and an extra-biblical authority identified the canon of the said bible. The idea of the scripture's authority existing apart from the authority of the Teacher Church is utterly foreign to the Early Church; in short the Church produced the Bible not vice-versa. If these facts alone were not true you may have the beginnings of a case for Sola Scriptura but they are and you don’t.

The bible indicates that in addition to the written word, we are to accept oral tradition; the bible calls the church and not the bible the "pillar and ground of the truth." Christ tells us to submit to the authority of the church and scripture itself states that it is insufficient of itself as a teacher, but rather needs an interpreter. None of the original biblical manuscripts is extant so how do you know what should be contained in the bible, biblical manuscripts contain thousands of variations and there are hundreds of bible versions, the doctrine of sola scriptura therefore does not allow for a final, definitive interpretation of any given passage of scripture, Where do you look then for that authoritative interpretation of scripture. Nor did sola scriptura exist prior to the 14th century, the bible itself was not available to individual believers until the 15th century, again how did the church manage for all that time without sola scriptura?

The protestant bible is missing 7 entire books, how do you know what books should be in the bible, Is the Book of Esther in the Canon of Scripture? How do you know that the Book of Esther is the inspired Word of God and belongs in the canon of Scripture? You literally have no way to prove that the book of Esther is inspired by God and belongs in the Bible. It is never quoted in the New Testament. It never mentions the word God in its pages. We don't know who wrote it. Even the first century Jews could not agree on its place as Scripture or how do you know that the Book of Third John is the inspired Word of God and belongs in the Bible? It doesn't claim to be written by an apostolic author and its authority was doubted by many early Christians.

As a Catholic Christian I know that the Holy Spirit can lead the Church to make infallible statements. Thus, the Bible is an infallible collection of infallible books; the best you can say is the Bible is a fallible collection of infallible books.
Because of this you can never give a reason for why you believe that Esther or 3 John belong in the canon of Scripture. If you claim the books of Scripture attest to their own divine origin, you have to answer the question attests to whom. All of this from a flawed understanding of Sola Scriptura. That Len is your tradition and it doesn’t hold up to close examination.

20 July 2009 at 13:34  
Anonymous bertrand said...


As you're doubtless aware, the most recent figures suggest that, insofar as labels can be attached, the largest single group of practising Christians in this country do share my views and my religion. A sign that reversion to the ante-Henrician status quo is not an impossible ideal.

As a great man wrote, "A second temple rises on the ruins of the old. Canterbury has gone its way, and York is gone, and Durham is gone, and Winchester is gone. It was sore to part with them. We clung to the vision of past greatness, and would not believe it could come to nought; but the Church in England has died, and the Church lives again. Westminster and Nottingham, Beverley and Hexham, Northampton and Shrewsbury, if the world lasts, shall be names as musical to the ear, as stirring to the heart, as the glories we have lost."

20 July 2009 at 13:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the recusant-you forget it is God who has preserved his word-
(Psa 12:6) The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
(Psa 12:7) Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

(Mat 5:17) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
(Mat 5:18) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Remember what Paul wrote
(2Ti 3:7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

20 July 2009 at 14:21  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Well, well. If it's not the mozzies it's the romans, and if it's not them it's brussels.

I wonder what they all think they're achieving? What blood do they expect to convert from stone?

20 July 2009 at 14:37  
Anonymous bertrand said...

God has preserved His Word through His Church. "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15).

20 July 2009 at 14:39  
Anonymous Laird said...

Bertrand you shouldn't believe everything you read in the newspapers .You know there are lies,damned lies and statistics.
Catholic numbers have increased but not to the extent you claim.If it ever does then hopefully there will be a need for 'priest holes' again.

20 July 2009 at 14:52  
Anonymous the recusant said...


I do not forget it is God who has preserved his word, Protestants have as their sole rule of faith the written Word of God, which we find in Sacred Scripture. The Catholic Church has, as its sole rule of faith, the entire Word of God, as it is found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. All of the Word of God was at one time passed on orally, that is called Sacred Tradition. Eventually, some Sacred Tradition was written down this became known as Sacred Scripture, which is written tradition. However, Scripture itself tells us that not all of the things that Jesus said and did were written down.

Listen to what Paul says about "tradition":

2 Thessalonians 2:15, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."


Traditions taught by word of mouth, in other words, oral traditions, and traditions taught by letter. What are they being told to hold on to? What are they being told to "stand firm and hold on to". Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

1 Corinthians 11:2

1 Cor 11:2, "I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you."

The Corinthians are being commended by Paul because they maintain the traditions that he passed on to them. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.


2 Tim 2:2: "and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

What we have here in 2 Timothy is an instance, in Scripture, of Paul commanding the passing on of oral tradition.

1 Thessalonians 2:13, "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you believers."

So, they received as the Word of God that which they heard, not simply that which they read in Scripture. It is important to remember at this time in history at best only 15% of the population could read Sacred Scripture & Sacred Tradition. In other words, the Bible clearly supports the Catholic Church's teaching that the Word of God is contained both Sacred Scripture and in Sacred Tradition.

20 July 2009 at 16:17  
Anonymous len said...

The Recusant,
Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.And you do many things like that.( Mark 7:13)

20 July 2009 at 17:53  
Anonymous len said...

Errors of the catholic church,
1 Human tradition elevated to or above the word of God.
2 Wrong gospel , wrong message of salvation.
3 Confession of sins to priests to obtain absolution of sins.
4 Penance.
5 Priests.
6 Celibacy of priests and nuns.
7 Confirmation.
8 Extreme unction.
9 Infant baptism.
10 Transubstantiation.
11 Adoration of the host(wafer bread).
12 The mass.
13 Other mediators between man and God.
14 Prayers to saints.
15 purgatory.
16 Papal infallibility.
17 Indulgences.
18 Idolatry, making images.
19 Mary veneration.
20 Catholic attitudes to the Bible.
21 Peter as the rock.
22 Apocrypha books added to the old testament.
23 Rosary prayer beads.
24Who gave us the bible, God or the roman catholic church?.
25 The inquisition, torture, massacres, murders, wars,
The roman catholic church has developed many doctrines that cannot be remotely proven from the bible, For example the assumption of Mary.

20 July 2009 at 18:16  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Oh for goodness sake Len, is that the best answer you can give, a bunch of threadbare accusations and a ya-boo-sucks, can’t you ever keep to the topic in hand,. Come-on man I give you a reasoned well executed argument of why the novel dogma of Sola Scriptura is false and has no basis in scripture, an assertion you pointedly choose to totally ignore and instead regurgitate the same tired old list of complaints and whine like a spoilt child, ‘Catholics do this, Catholics do that, mumble, mumble, mumble’. What sort of apologetics is that, I ask you?

I remember once before I tried to pin you down on one of your wild accusations and you avoided answering me then so I don’t hold out much hope now.

You see Len that’s the problem, your approach to understanding scripture is pick and mix, a verse here a verse there, it doesn’t attempt to understand the context. You treat Jesus Christ like a dictionary, look up a word get an explanation and that’s it, read Him as a novel He was not a one dimensional character.

Your sighting Mark is a case in point, you take the verse to mean exactly what it doesn’t. Jesus is upbraiding the Scribes and the Pharisees for using the Mosaic Law to allow a man to avoid his responsibilities to his aged parents in contravention of the fourth commandment. The Lord Jesus himself recalled the force of this commandment of God in Mark 7-13, Jesus was not rejecting Jewish tradition he was correcting those in the seat of Moses in their interpretation of the Law. Try to understand what you are reading Len, with understanding comes wisdom.
The Catholic Church has never tried to prove the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the bible, it’s an article of faith, you understand what faith is? But if you insist on playing this game this is the evidence we use to justify the dogma:

The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, which belongs to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book De Transitu Virginis (falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis), and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areopagite. If we consult genuine writings in the East, it is mentioned in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and others. In the West, St. Gregory of Tours (De gloria mart., I, iv) mentions it first. The sermons of St. Jerome and St. Augustine for this feast, however, are spurious. St. John of Damascus (P.G., I, 96) thus formulates the tradition of the Church of Jerusalem:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.

Today, the belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West; according to Benedict XIV (De Festis B.V.M., I, viii, 18) it is a probable opinion, which to deny were impious and blasphemous.
So the belief in the Assumption of Mary goes back all the way to the Church Fathers, and they based their opinions on what happened when St. Thomas (of the doubting variety) had the tomb opened, it is not an invention of the 19th cent.

Where is your evidence for Sola Scriptura Len, where is it, I am doubting St. Thomas now and I want to put my fingers in it, I want to open the tomb of Sola Scriptura and see the body, but I know it will be empty, show it to me Len, your Sola Scriptura so that I may too believe and delay no more.

20 July 2009 at 23:31  
Blogger ZZMike said...

len: "I wish Mr Ratzinger a speedy recovery."

Your concern is appreciated.

"Mr Ratzinger" is a name not associated with him since very long ago. He dropped that to become "Fr Ratzinger", then worked diligently and became Archbishop Ratzinger, then Cardinal Ratzinger. These titles are not granted as easily as British Baronetcies. [I struggle for the plural.]

Finally, having been elected Bishop of Rome (to fill a certain vacancy), he followed the age-old tradition of his predecessors and became Pope Benedict XVI, the name by which he's known around the world. At least, to those billion or so Roman Catholics.

Brian E.: "hospitals appear to be far better in Italy than in Britain."

Not to belabor an off-topic idea, but ... a report from the last few days told of how it's possible to get an MRI and treatment within a few hour's notice - if you're a dog (or cat).

Veterinary care is far better than human care under the wonderful NHS.

Lady V DdS: "Anon - in the 1980s Archbisop Paul Marcinkus (head of the Vatican Bank) had to stay inside the Vatican to avoid arrest and interrogation by the Italian police."

He was never indicted.

len (via recusant: "... sola scriptura..."

That's Martin Luther's term. He promoted sola scriptura and then went on to write 55 volumes explaining Scripture.

recusant: "why not add he was also responsible for the Inquisition,..."

I'm sure we can work it out that he had a hand in global warming as well.

len: "Jesus didn`t come to give a new law, a new religious system,..."

That's why everybody is still Jewish.

"Errors of the catholic church [sic],..."

I'm sure you've worked all this out in greater detail on your own blog. Might we have that link?

recusant "Where is your evidence for Sola Scriptura Len, where is it, ..."

I'm sure it's all on his web site.

21 July 2009 at 01:52  
Anonymous bertrand said...

The Holy Father has a doctorate at any rate, so if people will insist on being childish and denying him his clerical title, the correct form is Dr Ratzinger.

21 July 2009 at 03:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now there's a hand that's never done a days work

21 July 2009 at 13:12  
Anonymous len said...

Recusant and others,

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”
—Revelation 22:18-19

21 July 2009 at 13:50  
Anonymous bertrand said...


There's only so far that you can get by engaging in mindless prooftexting. I think you reached that point some way back.

Has the Catholic Church added any words to the Book of Revelation? I don't think so. Interesting to contrast with Luther's attitude, which was - for a time - that is should be junked entirely, being neither "apostolic nor prophetic". Once you dispense with the Tradition that gives you the table of contents for Scripture, getting rid of books of the Bible is a lot easier, I suppose.

21 July 2009 at 19:33  
Anonymous len said...

Bertrand , recusant,

2 Timothy 3:16 Teaches that scripture alone is sufficient for faith and practice,

" All scripture is given by inspiration of God for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

The scripture alone is given by inspiration of God and is able to make the man of God complete. Obviously nothing else is needed beyond the Scripture.

Catholic tradition is not Holy Scripture, and therefore not inspired by God, and is not therefore necessary to make the man of God complete. I say this on the authority of 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

21 July 2009 at 20:25  
Anonymous len said...

I can imagine catholics brushing aside every attempt at the Truth to penetrate through the fog of traditions and religiosity.
I believe it will take a divine miracle!

21 July 2009 at 20:30  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

@Bert and Recluse
Obviously the resurrection is the most important aspect of Christianity.When it occured and was witnessed by the apostles they must have realised that this momentous event should be told to as many as possible.However as story telling is easily corrupted over a very short period of time and as I understand nothing was written down for at least 100 years
(in my opinion 1 year would be too long)why didn't they do rock carvings of the resurrection and instruct all the believers to do the same to leave some form of record? The aboriginals did this quite successfully 30,000 years ago.

22 July 2009 at 08:57  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Sorry len I forgot to include you as well

22 July 2009 at 09:01  
Anonymous the recusant said...


In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we read, "All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work." There are five considerations which undermine the Sola Scriptura interpretation of this passage:

1) The Greek word ophelimos ("profitable") used in verse 16 means "useful" not "sufficient." An example of this difference would be to say that water is useful for our existence – even necessary – but it is not sufficient; that is, it is not the only thing we need to survive. We also need food, clothing, shelter, etc. Likewise, Scripture is useful in the life of the believer, but it was never meant to be the only source of Christian teaching, the only thing needed for believers.

2) The Greek word pasa, which is often rendered as "all," actually means "every," and it has the sense of referring to each and every one of the class denoted by the noun connected with it. (2) In other words, the Greek reads in a way which indicates that each and every "Scripture" is profitable. If the doctrine of Sola Scriptura were true, then based on Greek verse 16, each and every book of the Bible could stand on its own as the sole rule of faith, a position which is obviously absurd.

3) The "Scripture" that St. Paul is referring to here is the Old Testament, a fact which is made plain by his reference to the Scripture’s being known by Timothy from "infancy" (verse 15). The New Testament as we know it did not yet exist, or at best it was incomplete, so it simply could not have included in St. Paul’s understanding of what was meant by the term "scripture." If we take St. Paul’s words at face value, Sola Scriptura would therefore mean that the Old Testament is the Christian’s sole rule of faith. This is a premise that all Christians would reject.

Before we can talk about the nature of Scripture as being theopneustos or "inspired" (literally, "God-breathed"), it is imperative that we identify with certainty those books we mean when we say "Scripture"; otherwise, the wrong writings may be labeled as "inspired." St. Paul’s words here obviously took on a new dimension when the New Testament was completed, as Christians eventually considered it, too, to be "Scripture." It can be argued, then, that the Biblical canon is also the issue here, as St. Paul – writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – emphasizes the fact that all (and not just some) Scripture is inspired. The question that begs to be asked, however, is this: "How can we be sure we have all the correct writings?" obviously, we can only know the answer if we know what the canon of the Bible is. Such a question poses a problem for the Protestant, but not for the Catholic, as the latter has an infallible authority to answer it.

22 July 2009 at 09:57  
Anonymous the recusant said...

4) The Greek word artios, here translated "perfect," may at first glance make it seem that the Scriptures are indeed all that is needed. "After all," one may ask, "if the Scriptures make the man of God perfect, what else could be needed? Doesn’t the very word ‘perfect’ imply that nothing is lacking?"

Well, the difficulty with such an interpretation is that the text here does not say that it is solely by means of the Scriptures that the man of God is made "perfect." The text – if anything – indicates precisely the opposite to be true, namely, that the Scriptures operate in conjunction with other things. Notice that it is not just anyone who is made perfect, but rather the "man of God" – which means a minister of Christ (cf. 1 Tim. 6:11), a clergyman. The fact that this individual is a minister of Christ presupposes that he has already had training and teaching which prepared him to assume his office. This being the case, the Scriptures would be merely one item in a series of items which make this man of God "perfect." The Scriptures may complete his list of necessary items or they may be one prominent item on the list, but surely they are not the only item on his list nor intended to be all that he needs.

By way of analogy, consider a medical doctor. In this context we might say something like, "The Physician’s Desk Reference [a standard medical reference book] makes our General Practitioner perfect, so that he may be ready to treat any medical situation." Obviously such a statement does not mean that all a doctor needs is his PDR. It is neither the last item on his list or just one prominent item. The doctor also needs his stethoscope, his blood pressure gauge, his training, etc. These other items are presupposed by the fact that we are talking about a doctor rather than a non-medical person. So it would be incorrect to assume that if the PDR makes the doctor "perfect," it is the only thing which makes him so.
Also, taking this word "perfect" as meaning "the only necessary item" results in a biblical contradiction, for in James 1:4 we read that patience – rather than the Scriptures – makes on perfect: "And patience hath a perfect work; that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing." Now it is true that a different Greek word (teleios) is used here for "perfect," but the fact remains that the basic meaning is the same. Now, if one rightly acknowledges that patience is clearly not the only thing a Christian needs in order to be perfect, then a consistent interpretive method would compel one to acknowledge likewise that the Scriptures are not the only think a "man of God" needs in order to be perfect.

22 July 2009 at 10:00  
Anonymous the recusant said...

5) The Greek word exartizo in verse 17, here translated "furnished" (other Bible versions read something like "fully equipped" or "thoroughly furnished") is referred to by Protestants as "proof" of Sola Scriptura, since this word – again – may be taken as implying that nothing else is needed for the "man of God." However, even though the man of God may be "furnished" or "thoroughly equipped," this fact in and of itself does not guarantee that he knows how to interpret correctly and apply any given Scripture passage. The clergyman must also be taught how to correctly use the Scriptures, even though he may already be "furnished" with them.
Consider again a medical analogy. Picture a medical student at the beginning of internship. He might have at his disposal all the equipment necessary to perform an operation (i.e., he is "thoroughly equipped" or "furnished" for a surgical procedure), but until he spends time with the doctors, who are the resident authorities, observing their techniques, learning their skills, and practicing some procedures of his own, the surgical instruments at his disposal are essentially useless. In fact, if he does not learn how to use these instruments properly, they can actually become dangerous in his hands.
So it is with the "man of God" and the Scriptures. The Scriptures, like the surgical instruments, are life-giving only when properly used. When improperly used, the exact opposite results can occur. In once case they could bring physical ruin or even death; in the other case they could bring spiritual ruin or even spiritual death. Since the Bible admonishes us to handle rightly or rightly divide the word of truth (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15), it is therefore possible to handle incorrectly or wrongly divide it – much like an untrained medical student who incorrectly wields his surgical instruments.

22 July 2009 at 10:00  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

How convenient to be able to have this direct access to God through the Pope knowing without a doubt that the truth is only understood by Catholics.Also that any other interpretation of the new testament other than catholic will
bring spiritual death at least in this century.In others they burnt you at the stake and until recently had the index so that Catholics wouldn't be exposed to non catholic ideas.
One can't have a religious debate with you recusant. All you have to say is 'I'm right because the pope is infallible'.I on the other hand could say 'I'm right because the Archangel Gabriel visited me and told me that my interpretation of the new testament is the correct one.'However being a true Christian I couldn't tell such porkies.

22 July 2009 at 11:53  
Anonymous len said...

As I have said somewhere else recusant, it will take a divine miracle to break through the religious spirits that bind you.
You twist and turn scripture until it satisfies your own view, and if scripture won`t comply you add your traditions.
The catholic religion is a cleverly thought out scheme , thought out by men to control and manipulate people through guilt and fear, much like any other religion.
The only infallible source of Truth is God, not any mortal man who would rob Christ of His authority on earth.

22 July 2009 at 13:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Where do you keep all the stuff you present. Are you part of a team or company ?

22 July 2009 at 21:02  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

My guess is that recusant is a
student of theology or is studying
for the priesthood and possibly a
convert.But then again I could be completely incorrect as I don't have infallibility on my side.

23 July 2009 at 08:52  
Anonymous the recusant said...


No it won’t it will take someone with a better argument than just a lines of scripture taken out of context and misunderstood.

You see Len once again you made a statement, the Catholic Church is wrong because {Insert suitable line of scripture here}, I explained in detail why you are misquoting the verse and then do I get a rebuttal? No I get the recusant is another bigoted catholic, not the recusant gave a good argument lets debate him on these terms. Not even, I never knew that, I’ll go away and think again, no Len I get the same old guff, the CC twists scripture (do you know how ridiculous that is, the CC after all put the bible together), they make up tradition as they go along.. yawn, blah, blah, blah.

And you will be saying the same again next week, what you won’t be doing is starting from the point, the Catholic Church is wrong because {Insert suitable line of scripture here}, now I’ll go and find out if this is true or just my opinion, and where did I get that from? Len even if I were a protestant I would want to know why I believe what I do, not just because my preacher says so. You see the former is being a questioning human; the latter is just a functionary, and don’t St Paul say we had to give a defence of the faith when called upon?

If your faith can’t stand up to a few simple questions what is it worth, what did Christ teach on this?

23 July 2009 at 20:12  
Anonymous the recusant said...

??? - Please a pseudonym

I’m not part of a team or company or evangelical wing or anything really, just an ordinary Catholic chap. Catholics have for years been mocked by Protestants, with some justification I might add, for not studying or reading scripture, or being able to defend their faith, leaving it all up to the priests so to speak. Well here you have a Catholic that studies and reads scripture and can defend his faith, how do you like it?

If I believe something then I am damn well going to know the reason why and it had better be good. I have yet to find any Christian denomination that follows the fullness of truth better than the CC, and I have looked. One thing on which I’m sure we will agree is that the CC is attacked regularly and from all quarters and some die because of it (and I do not exclude the good protestant missionaries who are martyred for the faith in this), and it has been the case for its entire existence. Christ taught that as his followers, we would be persecuted in His name, servants being no better than their master and if the master is attacked; well don’t expect an easy ride that’s all.

I should think it unlikely that I shall ever be martyred; at least I hope it is, but at least I can know what it is others have been and are willing to die for.

23 July 2009 at 20:19  
Anonymous len said...

I can imagine you sitting there singing your catholic songs with your fingers firmly inserted in your ears in case something came along which didn`t fit in with your catholic worldview.

23 July 2009 at 21:13  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Think you are up to the job Len, bring it on

23 July 2009 at 22:06  
Anonymous the recusant said...


Not a student of theology, not studying for the priesthood, not a convert. Why didn’t it occur to you that I may be an ordinary bloke who doesn’t take things on face value, I have an enquiring mind? I have questioned why the CC teaches what it does many times and on many topics; I don’t just accept it and don’t see why anyone else should ether. Saying that I have found that these teachings seem to get up many people’s noses, after getting past the usual tosh and shopping lists of inequities of the CC it usually boils down to they don’t know why they object too and the next stage is either silence, indignation and falling back into the default ‘the Pope is the antichrist’ or some such drivel or very occasionally, enlightened debate. But most just can’t be bothered to find out the whys or the wherefore’s and continue in ignorance

You see the sensible position, before venturing an opinion on something is to have an informed opinion, emphasis on informed. Why it should be more acceptable when the subject is Theology or Christianity instead of Physics or Chemistry, to give credence to the opinion of a bloke spouting off down the pub or on a blog I don’t know. Unless the subject doesn’t really matter and any old opinion is as valid as the next.

Let’s look at what you said and see how much is worth keeping out of the dunny

How convenient to be able to have this direct access to God through the Pope – not true, just not true

Knowing without a doubt that the truth is only understood by Catholics. ‘Only’ – not true

Also that any other interpretation of the New Testament other than catholic will bring spiritual death at least in this century. – Well we have to agree on which interpretation we mean first, but in essence not true for the most part unless the particular interpretation can be shown to go against scripture.

In others they burnt you at the stake and until recently had the index so that Catholics wouldn't be exposed to non catholic ideas. – Oh I’m sorry I didn’t realise Protestants, Secularists, Communists, Pagans, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and even tribesmen in remotest New Guinea hadn’t at some time resorted to force and violence to impose their will. Is your indignation because you expected the CC to be perfect in every way or because you think you are telling the world something it doesn’t already know. News flash - Like everyone else Catholics are sometimes bad people too, get used to it. The question you have to ask is does this mean that what the CC teaches is not true, be careful with your answer because you will have to apply it to all the others.

23 July 2009 at 22:09  
Anonymous the recusant said...


One can't have a religious debate with you recusant. All you have to say is 'I'm right because the pope is infallible. – Perhaps that is all I have to say but I clearly don’t do I or I wouldn’t keep coming back, you point is mute, and bolx to boot

If you want to say you’re not Catholic – fine.
If you want to say you don’t believe what the Catholic Church teaches – fine.
If you think you know better than the Catholic Church – fine.
If you want to believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden – fine.

If you say the Catholic Church is wrong on A, B or C because X, Y or Z then you had better be able to argue your case or get the hell out of dodge because some militant, argumentative, cleaver dicky, Papist is likely to call you out, no names no pack drill. If he’s not down the pub.

I’ll ignore the petulance sydneysider, anyone can have a religious debate with me, I will engage in any interesting and reasoned argument, but pickings have been thin on the ground lately, there is a famine of divines. Where have all the Richard Hookers gone, the John Jewels, the Lancelot Andrewes even the occasional Billy Graham would be nice.

But seriously most of what you have said regarding the Catholic Church has been simply wrong to a lesser or greater degree. For example Catholics are not obliged to believe in personal revelation that means Catholics don’t have to believe in flying Nuns, Lourdes, Fatima, Magigoria or any of the Marian visions, they are not articles of faith, Catholics do believe them but are not required to. Myself I have a piece of toast with an image of either the journey of the Magi or a map of Africa, or it could be where I dropped it and stood on it. I think though you would have to travel a long way to beat the Appalachian Snake Handlers, what a bunch of nutters, and they are all from your side of the fence.

If you want to have a go about Papal Infallibility please do, many Catholics have trouble with it but at least they understand it first (well some do), there’s no excuse for shooting from the hip on this, you can easily do the research preferably from what we Catholics understand by it, not a spittle flecked rant by some born again Bob Jones nutjob, go to the horse’s mouth, always best.

23 July 2009 at 22:09  
Anonymous len said...

If you are to have a conversation with someone who reckons that they are infallible what would you say would be a good starting point?.
If you were to have a conversation on Holy Scripture with someone who makes up their own what would be a good reference point to start with?

I will interpret Holy Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit alone" When the Spirit of Truth comes He will guide you into all Truth;"( John 16:13)

Your religion has put you in a prison from which you cannot escape.

Jesus Christ has set me wonderfully, gloriously, free!

23 July 2009 at 22:34  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

'spittle flecked rant' - good one!
and now I'll leave you to get on with some rigorous repetitive hand movement to the beat of a matyrdom fantasy...will get back to you later on a few points

24 July 2009 at 04:37  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

The Catholic Church has the advantage of having an infallible authority in the pope . The pope
is guided by the holy spirit in all
pronouncements ex cathedra.Thus CC is the only true religion and the Catholic interpretation of scripture is perfect because it is the word of God.There are no degrees of wrong.I can't be 'wrong to a greater or lesser extent.'I am
wrong.Of course this explains your
arrogance and intolerance because it must be terribly frustrating knowing you are right and everyone
who doesn't share this view is wrong.It certainly isn't a topic one could debate with someone whose blind faith is the only proof of his argument.Your only value in this forum is to answer questions on Catholicism if you can
manage to do so without being insulting. Kindly elevate the tone of your discourse.Just an heretical
thought.Why did God choose a protestant Lutheran to be God's perfect and sublime voice on earth?

24 July 2009 at 10:04  
Anonymous the recusant said...

If you are to have a conversation with someone who reckons that they are infallible what would you say would be a good starting point?. – What are the winning numbers to next week’s lottery, Look Len as I said to Sydneysider you have to understand what is meant by infallibility? We believe the Pope is the same as any other man in terms of his sinful nature and need for salvation.

It is important to note first of all, that Papal Infallibility applies not so much to the man who is pope, but more so to his office, and his role as pope. Papal infallibility means that the pope, when speaking on matters of faith and morals while making an official declaration to the universal church in a general way, is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching error.


1) The Pope cannot commit sin - FALSE - Popes can and have committed sins throughout history. Pope Benedict XVI and the former pope John Paul II, both went to confession weekly. This is much more often than most Catholics. This would certainly not be the behaviour of someone who felt they could not commit a sin. The fact that a pope sins does not in any way undermine papal infallibility.

2) A Pope is always right - FALSE - The pope may or may not be correct on most issues, just like anyone else. If the pope says who he thinks will win the World Cup, dont put all your money on it.

3) The Pope, due to his position, cannot have heterodox (unorthodox) opinions - FALSE - The Pope could potentially hold opinions which are not orthodox. Because of Papal infallibility, the Holy Spirit restricts the Pope from officially declaring a teaching which is not orthodox, or in line with Catholic belief.

There is Biblical evidence for the dogma of Papal infallibility. While speaking to Peter, Jesus said he is the Rock upon which he builds his Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Peter was the solid foundation upon which the church is built. This is evident when we read the Acts of the Apostles. Anytime there is a disagreement, it is brought to an apostle, and if resolution cannot be had, Peter ultimately weighs in and his decision is final. Jesus gave this authority to Peter so that when he was gone from Earth, Christians would have a guide. Christ wanted that all people would be united and have a source of authority, which is why he established this office, held by Peter. The gates of hell would prevail against the church if it taught error contrary to Truth. Therefore the Church cannot teach error, and since the Pope is the ultimate leader of the Church on earth, the Holy Spirit, as the third person of the Trinity, fulfills God's promise and protects the Pontiff from teaching error.

24 July 2009 at 15:21  
Anonymous the recusant said...


If you were to have a conversation on Holy Scripture with someone who makes up their own what would be a good reference point to start with?

I would say you believe 2 Timothy 3:16-17 means one thing and I believe it means another, you interpret Holy Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit alone and get one answer, but I do the same and get a different answer. How are we to know who is correct, to what authority can we turn that can decide which is correct. I would ask on what basis do you infallibly interoperate scripture, why is your authority better than mine?

Also I would say if you want to defend Sola Scriptura a better verse would be Revelation 22:18-19, it is far more punchy, but be sure you know what is meant by ‘this book’ because that also is a faulty interpretation.

I’m not sure you have a good translation of John 16 but in any case, ask yourself who was Christ speaking to and what was happening? Christ was clearly informing the disciples of His departure and the imminent arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Paraclete, and the gifts and knowledge He would give them. Christ was not saying anything about everyone equally being able to understand scripture (Hebrews 11-14), how could it when it didn’t exist at the time, the bible as we know it wasn’t going to exist for another 400 years, and it took another 15-16 hundred years before the technology existed to make enough copies for everyone anyway. But even then most couldn’t read until the 20th Cent, and this doesn’t even begin to solve the problem of all the other peoples of the earth.

It was the Holy Spirit as you know that gave the disciples power to spread the early Church, Jesus appointed 12 specific people to carry out his mission. Even though Jesus had many, many followers, he called out 12 men to guide his flock. Even in Jesus' time there was a structured church. In fact the church could not exist if Jesus had not been around to start it himself and he did, but he left it in the hands of Peter (Mt 16:13-19). So, we see that there was a church, with a specific structure of leaders that were called by God to lead the church, this is nowhere better illustrated the in Pauls letter to timothy where he says ‘the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth’ (1 Tim. 3:15), note scripture is not the pillar and foundation of truth, the Church is.

You see Len there is no avoiding it Christ gave us His Church and he gave authority to that Church. If it were as simple a picking up a copy of scripture and being infused with the Holy Spirit to find the truth, why didn’t Christ just give us the book and say read this? In that case your notion that everyone can read and understand scripture for themselves and get it right would be valid, but he didn’t.

The Bible, sacred Tradition, and the writings of the earliest Christians testify that the Church teaches with Jesus’ authority and that authority holds the Catholic Church together. How do we explain the 33,000 protestant denominations? How does this meet with Christ’s prayer that they might all be one?

24 July 2009 at 15:53  
Anonymous len said...

Perhaps you would like to name these 33,000 denominations?

Incidentally , I don`t belong to a denomination, I belong to the Body of Christ.If all you have is an allegiance to a denomination I would question whether you are saved at all!

When you speak of the 'church; I am assuming you speak of a group of people meeting in a 'steeple building'. I think the original translation was the ekklesia, the called out assembly.In fact Jesus told his disciples to pick up their cross and follow Him . God said He did not live in temples built by the hands of men.( Acts 17:24)

In deciding whether to submit to the Authority of the Bible or that of the catholic church, we need to take into consideration the fact that the Bible the Word of God changes not, but what the catholic church believes to be right or wrong changes with the passing of time!

24 July 2009 at 19:42  
Anonymous the recusant said...


World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson (Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001)
Current total number of "Christian denominations" as of 2007 according to the "Global Christianity" pages at Gordon-Conwell

Total Number of Denominations for 1800 =500
Total Number of Denominations for 1900 =1,900
Total Number of Denominations for 1970 =18,800
Total Number of Denominations for mid-2000 =33,800
Total Number of Denominations for mid-2007 = 39,000
Total Number of Denominations for 2025 projected = 55,000

Catechism of the Catholic Church, - I. NAMES AND IMAGES OF THE CHURCH

751 The word "Church" (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to "call out of") means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose.139 Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people.140 By calling itself "Church," the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is "calling together" his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means "what belongs to the Lord."
I mostly agree with your last point, the books removed from Protestant Bibles are: Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and parts of Esther and Daniel. Check your bible have you got these books, if not why not.

Martin Luther, without any authority whatsoever, removed those seven books and placed them in an appendix during the reformation. They remained in the appendix of Protestant Bibles until about 1826, and then they were removed altogether. You are right we have to be careful about the Word of God how can you remove books from the Bible and still call it the authentic Word of God?

You say the Catholic Church changes what it believes to be right or wrong with the passing of time, now be careful to restrict yourself to what the church teaches as opposed to what some individuals have been guilty off (and no I’m not trying to wriggle out of anything, just that so many get the two confused) and give me an example, remember what the Church teaches, not opinion on Galileo, The inquisition or other such activities. That’s a change from what it believes to be right to wrong or what it believes to be wrong to right.

24 July 2009 at 20:51  
Anonymous the recusant said...


Catholic Church has the advantage of having an infallible authority in the Pope. The Pope is guided by the Holy Spirit in all pronouncements ex cathedra.

OK so far, I don’t want to be picky but your conclusion does not logically follow from the premise (Thus CC is the only true...)

Are you not asking, Is there a right and wrong way of interpreting scripture, or to put it another way is it Gods intention that we can each interpret scripture and be right. Clearly this is not the case, just look at what is happening to the Anglican Communion, all sides are sincere, genuine and Christians convinced in their cause but they can’t all be right, can they? But yes there are degrees of error as there are in everything, but it is still error, 2mm out in a measurement may not be much but it is still out whereas 2cm means the joint falls apart.

Remember Martin Luther was an Augustinian Monk before throwing in his lot with the deformation and his intention was not to start a new religion but to reform the existing one. Today however how many of Luther’s complaints are still outstanding do you know?

“Of course this explains your arrogance and intolerance…” - Oops lost it a bit here did we, not being offensive are we or in the next bit, what was it you said about ‘being insulting’ and toning down the discourse, pot - kettle.

It certainly isn't a topic one could debate with someone whose blind faith… – Blind faith you say, I am able to explain why I believe what I do, can you? So far all I have seen are repeated anti-catholic statements and who gets upset when they are challenged on them and shown to be wrong.

Your only value in this forum is to answer questions on Catholicism if you can manage to do so without being insulting. Kindly elevate the tone of your discourse. – See above pot kettle, having a bit of a tizzy here are you? Well at least I can answer criticisms on the Catholic Church, if it is worth anything at all it’s worth defending against false accusation, the strange thing is there are plenty of legitimate criticisms of the Church without resorting to the tired old shopping lists that have been answered many times before. Can you defend Lutheranism because so far I have seen little evidence of it?

Just a heretical answer to a heretical thought, whose perfect and sublime voice on earth was this?

"First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them."
"Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed."
"Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them."
"Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb."
"Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews."
"Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them. ... Such money should now be used in ... the following [way]... Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed [a certain amount]"
"Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow... For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants."
"If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews' blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country" and "we must drive them out like mad dogs."

By your logic sydneysider every tyrant in history was chosen by divine intervention.

24 July 2009 at 21:01  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

You may not be 'invincably ignorant'but you certainly are ignorant.Martin Luther?You can't be serious.This tells me everything.

25 July 2009 at 02:53  
Anonymous len said...


Roman Catholics view the landscape of modern Christianity and see chaos. Multiple denominations, multiple churches. I also deplore the current state of affairs, but unlike Rome, I do not agree with their solution.

Their solution is of course follow the Pope. This is what they mean by unity, all following the Pope. The Reformers viewed the pope as an anti-Christ, because he took authority that properly belonged to Christ alone. (using the more common meaning of anti-Christ) Before you get too shocked at the statement, I would read "Pope" Gregory I's comments below. I would like to submit for your consideration that the papacy is one of the main causes of disunity. Furthermore, the papacy was not present in the primitive church.

Catholic apologists have tried many times to establish papal authority, but I believe the following quotes completely disprove that contention.

Cyprian (200-258): Neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. (Seventh Council of Carthage, paragraph 1)

In canon 6 of the Council of Nicea (325 AD) it was declared that each church center was to be ruled by its own bishop and not by one head over all bishops.

In canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) it was declared that Rome's rank was based on its political significance rather than any spiritual superiority.

Gregory I, bishop of Rome (540-604): None of my predecessors ever wished to use this profane word. For clearly if one patriarch is called "universal," then the name "patriarch" is taken away from the rest....To consent to this wicked word is nothing less than to destroy the faith....It is one thing that we should preserve unity of faith; another, that we ought to repress self-exaltation. But I say it confidently, because whoever calls himself "universal bishop," or wishes to be so called, is in his self-exaltation Antichrist's precursor, for in his swaggering he sets himself before the rest. (Epistle 18, emphasis mine)

This is my last post on this matter as I feel we have probably stretched his Graces patience to the limit of his endurance.

25 July 2009 at 21:53  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Bach-the voice of God in human form
Good article in the telegraph.
Very informative last post len.

26 July 2009 at 03:02  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

@ recusant
I found some glimmers of good info in your posts.Pity about the toxic
interpolation.There are a few more
questions I would have like to ask you but like the gutless jews of 583 BC that you mentioned I don't relish any more ear pulling and I can't afford to lose any more teeth.
Besides this must be boring the pants off everybody so let's call
it quits mate.

26 July 2009 at 05:59  
Anonymous the recusant said...


Cyprian is a good argument and I could debate him. You interpret the cannons out of context not a New Labour spin doctor are we, read the complete canons, you can find them easily enough. Gregory was correct then as he is today, the Pope is not Bishop of Bishops and doesn’t claim to be, just Bishop of Rome. He has no power to force other Bishop's to act against their will, he can of course, with the Magisterium censure a Bishop like Mgr Emmanuel Milingo, the emeritus Archbishop of Lusaka recently who married in a Unification Church ceremony (Moony).

A Bishop can be excommunicated but cannot be un-consecrated. A rogue bishop is a dangerous thing because he can still ordain priests and start a schism; an excommunicated priest just fades away.


In answer to your “Why did God choose a protestant Lutheran to be God's perfect and sublime voice on earth?”

Just an example of that perfect and sublime voice on earth chosen by God. See Martin Luther - On The Jews and Their Lies – 1535. Can’t see the connection to the Babylonian exile though and I didn’t call the Jews gutless, nothing could be further from the truth.

See you both on the other side.

27 July 2009 at 12:50  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Recusant I was referring to Johann
Sebastian Bach as the sublime voice of God on earth not Martin
Luther. But you knew this anyway.

How about that bishop marrying a moony!This is where the pope should be using his magic power
to unconsecrate renegade bishops.I'm really surprised that this hasn't already been sorted..I've been reading some letters to the Catholic Herald and I am most happy to report that a few very intelligent sounding Catholics have supported views that I have already expressed.For some reason I'm fascinated by the way your church doesn't work.

Tolkien (one of your lot) said the inability to believe in Christianity was primarily a failure of imagination...that truth is best expressed through myths.Now Tolkien,I can relate to.

As for us all meeting on the other
side well I don't think this is a good idea if we are all in the same place.Imagine the fisticuffs! Luckily there are three options.

Anyway I'm not going anywhere you can't surf.

27 July 2009 at 17:26  
Anonymous the recusant said...


Just keeping an eye on the 3rd test. But to answer your point, no I did not think you meant JS Bach I though you meant Martin Luther, but I did wonder at the apparent change in direction. Now I would like to admit to the mistake but you know how we are on Infallibility! Bach is truly a wonderful composer, one has to wonder at the true sympathies of a man who wrote a full Roman Catholic Mass (in B Minor) that is arguably even today unsurpassed for its passion and beauty. It is difficult to reconcile the author and the thought that he rejected on religious grounds the sacrifice of the Mass for which he wrote his masterpiece.

As I said the Pope can’t unconsecrate a bishop, neither he nor anyone else has the power to do so this side of the grave, the ultimate sanction is excommunication and that has been done which is as sorted as it can be. Don’t wonder at the time the Church takes to act on anything, it has been well said the Catholic Church thinks in centuries.

The Catholic Herald is a more traditional catholic newspaper, are you sure the Tablet is not more in keeping with your tastes, can I say keep being fascinated by the way the Catholic Church doesn't work, its not been working this way for 2000 years and I expect it to not work in just the same way for the next 2000.

By the other side I meant another post, not anticipating shuffling off this mortal coil just yet, well not until we have won the ashes anyway. Just because I like a good argument doesn’t meant I wish to bash anyone brains out, I have no problem with pugilism as a spectator sport but it lacks the intellectual rigour to settle an argument.

By the way you may be interested in
this and this

31 July 2009 at 15:54  

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