Thursday, June 22, 2017

Oh My, How Hilarious--More Anti-Catholic Nonsense

Wow, I thought Mr. Stewart's other posting was humorous but "Rev" Testa's list of Catholic "Heresies" is laugh out loud hilarious. Testa put these so-called heresies in a chart with a date. I will not use up space but put each statement and the date and my refutation of each.

Notice: These dates are in many cases approximate. Many of these heresies had been current in the Church years before, but only when they were officially adopted by a Church council and proclaimed by the pope as dogma of faith, did they become binding on Catholics.
And doctrine to be true must conform to the Word of God. “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)
At the Reformation in the 16th Century these heresies were repudiated as having no part in the Religion of Jesus as taught in the New Testament.
Some of the dates are approximate and some seem to be pulled out of thin air. His "And doctrine to be true" statement doesn't even apply to the vast majority of entries on his list. Also, his sweeping statement about the Reformation doesn't fit the facts of history either. This leads me to believe that he has not studied the actual history of the Church but has read and repeated what anti-Catholic Protestants have read and repeated for about two centuries or more.
OF ALL THE HUMAN TRADITIONS taught and practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, which are contrary to the Bible, the most ancient are the prayers for the dead and the sign of the Cross. Both began 300 years after Christ.
The very beginning tells me a lot about Rev. Testa's lack of education in Church history. The most ancient prayers for the dead are not only Biblical but the tradition came from our Jewish roots.  This particular practice was present from the beginning of the Church--from Jesus Christ, Himself a practicing Jew. He did not believe those who are dead to us are dead in Heaven. Those who have died are actually alive.  Jesus said:
  "They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." (Luke 20:36-38)

Catacomb etching with cross and Jesus' name
And, the sign of the cross is in honor of Christ who was hung on a cross for our salvation.  It too was used as a sign by Christians to each other in written form, in picture form, and in prayer form to identify each other as a sign of unity during the persecution of the Church for the first three hundred years of the Church and beyond. It wasn't started or "invented" in 310, but practiced during the time of the early Church martyrs. This prayer, honoring Jesus Christ in the Trinity, is practiced today as it has been for almost two millenia.

Wax Candles introduced in church [320 AD]

LOL!! Can he really be serious about this one? Come on, wax candles were used in homes!! The Church used them as many, many people used them to light their homes; they lit the House of God. They didn't have light bulbs or electricity. What were they supposed to use in the Church? Wax candles were used in home churches, underground churches, and yes, church buildings once the persecution of Christians was over, allowing them to build churches.  When did using wax candles become a heresy??  I can't even take this entry seriously.

Today we use candles most importantly to symbolize the Light of Christ. [Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12)The large candle one sees in most Catholic Churches represents Christ, the Light of the World. You will see a cross, the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, and some stubs of incense on the candle. The cross, of course, represents Christ. The Cross always represents Christ wherever it appears in the Church. The Alpha and Omega represents Christ, called the alpha and omega (the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet), the beginning and the end it Revelation. [“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.” (Rev. 1:8)] And, the stubs of incense represent Christ's wounds on the cross--The top one for the crown of thorns, the one in the center for the wound in His side, and the three others for the nails in his hands and feet. It is all about Christ.

 Veneration of angels and dead saints [375 AD]

Ancient Christian prayers for the dead from the catacombs
Seriously, as has been pointed out already many, many times to other Protestants in my posts, this practice came directly from our Jewish roots and has been practiced since day one of the Church.
 "...and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." (Luke 20:38)
We venerate live saints who are with Jesus in Heaven because they pray for us. [Hebrews 12:1 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,...]  Not only do they pray for us but the angels bring their prayers to them for us: "Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel."(Revelation 8:3,4; italics added for emphasis) Why would we not honor and respect those living with God and praying for us? Why would we not honor God's messengers, and our protectors? 

The Mass, as a daily celebration, adopted [394 AD]

Seriously? How is wanting to pray and celebrate Jesus Christ daily a heresy? At first the Christians gathered on the Jewish Sabbath (Friday night or Saturday) and stayed for Christian Services (later the Mass) on Saturday night/Sunday Morning. Yes, daily Mass was "adopted" but much sooner than Rev. Testa points out. As Christians were persecuted they clung closer to each other and daily or days of Mass begin to be said. We see that this began to happen very, very early on:
The Last Supper, Flandes, 1560
 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46, 47; italics added for emphasis)
Even in the book of Acts, the chronicle of the early days of the Church, the Christians began meeting daily and "breaking bread" together. Daily Mass was not unusual, in fact, it became the norm for quite a while. This first century (not fourth) activity has been passed on for almost two millenia.

The worship of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the use of the term, "Mother of God", as applied to her, originated in the Council of Ephesus. [431 AD]

1. We don't worship Mary. No matter how many times Catholics or the Catholic Church repeats this, we are still (sigh) accused of it.

2. The use of the term, "Mother of God" was put down as a doctrine at the Council of Ephesus. The reason for this was that the Church wanted to emphasize the divinity of Jesus Christ. It is simple--Jesus is God. Mary is His mother. Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.

The Church does not claim and never has claimed that Mary was progenitor of God the Father or God the Holy Spirit, or even the divinity of Jesus. But just as you do not introduce your female progenitor as the mother of your body, so we do not refer to Mary as the Mother of the Body of Jesus. That would be nonsense. In the back of the mind of most Protestants, I believe they know what nonsense this is. If you believe that Jesus is God, then denying that Mary is the Mother of God is heresy.

Jesus is God:  
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it....And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5,14)
Mary is His mother:
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

Priest began to dress differently from the laityAD 500
And that is heresy because.....?

I don't even know where to go with this one. I cannot understand how this man thinks that dressing differently is a heresy. The dress the priest wears now is actually from the middle ages not AD 500. It is a custom not a doctrine, so, by definition, "dress[ing] differently" is not a heresy. Many offices dress differently to distinguish themselves from others. For instance, judges wear black robes, an old custom which shows their office and authority. Are they being heretical? Nurses used to wear uniforms and special hats to distinguish them from other hospital staff, a customary uniform to show the special education and training they had. Are they being heretical? Officers in the military wear distinctive uniforms to separate them from the general population.  How is a uniform a heresy?  I can't even fathom why Mr. Stewart went there. Wearing distinctive clothing is not a heresy.
Extreme Unction AD 526
Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction of the Past)
Does Mr. Stewart even know what this is?  How is extreme unction a heresy? Praying with and for someone who is dying gives them comfort and strength for the journey Home. In fact, the early Church practiced this:
Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick?   He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. (James 5:13-15)
This Scripture outlines the Annointing of the Sick (which is what the sacrament is called now) in a nutshell. It wasn't "invented" in 526 AD, but was practiced in the first century Church.

The doctrine of Purgatory was first established by Gregory the Great.AD 593

 Actually, it was a doctrine long before Gregory the Great's time as pope and is based on Scripture and Jewish tradition. Another indication that Mr. Stewart knows little about Church history.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: All who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (1030).

We believe this because it says in the Scriptures:
"But nothing unclean shall enter [heaven]" (Rev. 21:27). 
Hab. 1:13 says, "You [God]... are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wrong..."

Simply put, we believe there is a purification before entering Heaven. We don't know if it is a place or a state of being. We don't know if it takes any "time", as there is no "time" as we know it in the afterlife. What we do know is that purification must take place before we can enter heaven--like taking a shower after working hard, then going to Church.

The Latin language, as the language of prayer and worship in churches, was also imposed by Pope Gregory I. 600 years after Christ. AD 600
The Word of God forbids praying and teaching in an unknown tongue. (1st Corinthians 14:9)

1. Latin became the international language long before the Catholic Church made it the official Church language. That way every Church document was put in the same language and interpreted or taught by the bishops in the language of their diocese.

2. Language unifies. When you believe that Christ meant there to be ONE Christian Church (which is what Catholic means--Universal), you want everyone to have a common language. It was not an unknown tongue. Even up to the 20th century, the scientific community printed major papers, and documentation of discoveries and theories in Latin. Latin doesn't change, therefore, starting with Latin, one can translate into many languages more accurately.

3. The Church chose Latin because it was the 'vulgar' or common language of the time. The Vulgate, translated by St. Jerome from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek sources, became the official Bible of the Church.  In that way, the entire Christian world had the same Scriptures. The Vulgate was even used by the translators of the so-called King James Version of the Bible. Just an FYI, there was an English version, that was actually an English translation not a paraphrase like the KJV, produced before the King James Bible; it's called the Douay-Rheims Bible.

4. The Church did have Scriptures each geographic locations languages, the homily (sermon) was in the people's language, and spoke to each other about God and theology in their own language. 

The Bible teaches that we pray to God alone. In the primitive church never were prayers directed to Mary, or to dead saints. This practice began in the Roman Church.  AD 600 (Matthew 11:28; Luke 1:46; Acts 10: 25-26; 14:14-18) 

The Story of Hanakkah by Ori Sherman
Again, the author shows his ignorance of Christian church history. The early church certainly DID pray to Mary and the saints. This tradition came from our Jewish roots. It was a regular practice in Judaism to pray to their dead ancestors to pray for them to God; just as protestants ask other people in their church or congregation or family for prayers.

2 Maccabees 12 (a book removed from the Holy Scriptures after the KJV came out--it was not added by the Catholic Church, it was a book of the Holy Scriptures since the canon of Scripture was officially finalized about AD325) talks about how Judas Maccabbeus prayed for the righteous dead, that they might receive their reward.

The papacy is of pagan origin. The title of pope or universal bishop, was first given to the bishop of Rome by the wicked emperor Phocas. AD 610
The papacy is of Christian origin. Christ appointed St. Peter the Rock on which He would build His Church. The title of pope (papa) was given later but Mr. Stewart needs to expand his reading material. Pope is a Christian title. 

This he did to spite Bishop Ciriacus of Constantinople, who had justly excommunicated him for his having caused the assasination of his predecessor emperor Mauritius.  Gregory I, then bishop of Rome, refused the title, but his successor, Boniface III, first assumed the title "pope."

Jesus did not appoint Peter to the headship of the apostles and forbade any such notion. (Luke 22:24-26; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 1st Corinthians 3:11).

 Note: Nor is there any mention in Scripture, nor in history, that Peter ever was in Rome, much less that he was pope there for 25 years; Clement, 3rd bishop of Rome, remarks that "there is no real 1st century evidence that Peter ever was in Rome."
Actually, there is historical evidence that St. Peter was in Rome:

Tertullian, in The Demurrer Against the Heretics (A.D. 200), noted of Rome, “How happy is that church . . . where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like John’s [referring to John the Baptist, both he and Paul being beheaded].” 

In the same book, Tertullian wrote that “this is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrnaeans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John; like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter.” 

And historical evidence that St. Peter was in charge of the Church:
In his Letter to the Romans (A.D. 110), Ignatius of Antioch remarked that he could not command the Roman Christians the way Peter and Paul once did, such a comment making sense only if Peter had been a leader, if not the leader, of the church in Rome.
Irenaeus, in Against Heresies (A.D. 190), said that Matthew wrote his Gospel “while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church.” A few lines later he notes that Linus was named as Peter’s successor, that is, the second pope, and that next in line were Anacletus (also known as Cletus), and then Clement of Rome.
Clement of Alexandria wrote at the turn of the third century. A fragment of his work Sketches is preserved in Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History, the first history of the Church. Clement wrote, “When Peter preached the word publicly at Rome, and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been for a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings, should write down what had been proclaimed.”
*These quotes and more can be read here: Was Peter in Rome?

The kissing of the Pope's feet. AD 709.

1. Again, this is a custom, not a doctrine. Therefore, doing so is not, by definition, heresy.

2.  From what I read this custom may have originated about the eighth century. It was unseemly for a woman to kiss the hand of the pope, so it became customary to kiss his foot instead. Today, if done, it is customary to kiss the cross on his right shoe. The kissing part is a sign of respect to the papal office. Kissing the cross is to honor Christ whom the pope represents.

Oh, is the custom of kissing the foot of others by the pope, after he washes them, also a heresy? 
Pope kissing foot of refugee after washing it.
 Just wondering?

It had been a pagan custom to kiss the feet of emperors. The Word of God forbids such practices. (Read Acts 10:25-26; Revelation 19:10; 22:9)
While it is true that there was a pagan custom of kissing the feet of emperors, this was no longer the custom in the West for centuries. 

Ironically, he points to Acts 10 where St. Peter tells the man who fell at his feet to rise. Today the custom is for the pope to tell the reverent person to rise. Also, the pope acknowledges and is acknowledged as "only a man." The Emperor was only a man. Peter told the man to rise because of his humbleness--not because showing reverence is forbidden.

In Revelation 19:10 & 22:9, the man speaking tells the man at his feet not to worship him. 1) It is not "the word of God forbid[ding]" this act except as an act of worship. 2) No one who kissing the pope's foot is worshipping the pope. It is simply a sign of respect. In fact, they are reverencing him for the One whom he represents, Christ.  

The Temporal power of the Popes. AD 750.

When Pepin, the usurper of the throne of France, descended into Italy, called by Pope Stephen II, to war against the Italian Lombards, he defeated them and gave the city of Rome and surrounding territory to the pope. Jesus expressly forbade such a thing, and He himself refused worldly kingship. (Read Matthew 4:8-9; 20:25-26; John 18:38)
The temporal power is an historical reality; it is not doctrine. Therefore, by definition, not heresy. And, since then, almost all temporal power of the pope has been taken away. Ironically, Protestants try to blame all kinds of WWII atrocities on the pope because he didn't use what temporal power they thought he should wield. The vast majority of what he is blamed for is fiction, however, anyway.
Worship of the cross, images and relics was authorized. AD 788
Such practice is called simply IDOLATRY in the Bible, and is severely condemned. ( Read Exodus 20:4; 3:17; Deuteronomy 27:15; Psalm 115).
Yet again...we do NOT worship the cross, images, or relics. But no matter how many times Catholic Christians repeat this, Protestants say we do so.


We honor certain objects in order to honor those they represent. We honor the cross because it is a symbol of what Christ did for us. If He had not died on the cross for our sins, we would be lost. When we honor the cross, we are showing honor to Christ and His sacrifice for us.

Images of Saints and angels are honored because we remember their service for Christ. We honor their heroic deeds and their example of Christian virtue. We honor them as dearly departed family members.

I find it really interesting when a radical like this points to the Scriptures to condemn the Catholic use of images in the Church. Did he read the whole bible? If so, he skipped over the whole description of how God demanded the temple to be built. The temple had images of angels, bulls, plants, and other objects by specific size and use in the Temple. 1 King 6 ff gives a full description and says, "The word of the Lord came to Solomon." He built the Temple at God's command and direct word. They did not worship the cherubim on the ark or the doors or in the sanctuary of the Temple. They did not worship the bulls holding up the brazier (even though bulls were worshipped by pagans, btw). They did not worship the palm trees, dates, pomegranates, or flowers that adorned the temple either.

This accusation is just tired and old. Why can't they let it go????

BTW, not by definition heresy, either.

Holy Water, mixed with a pinch of salt and blessed by the priest, was authorized [AD 850]
Holy water is not a doctrine, therefore, by definition not a heresy.

Holy water is what we call a sacramental. It is simply a symbol of something sacred. In this case, a symbol of our baptism which is a Sacrament. We remember our baptism and therefore our salvation in Christ.

I am going to stop there for now. that is more than half way through this ridiculous list. I will try to get through the rest at a later time.

My main point: This man does not know what he is talking about.

Heresy definition: belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine. So far very few of his "heresies" are in fact actually heresies. Traditions like how a priest dresses is not heresy. The use of items in the church such as candles or even holy water is not heresy. And, since we don't worship Mary, the Saints, the Cross, images, etc, our display and honoring of such is not heresy.  

Catholics are the original Christians and worship God alone. We believe in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life. We are Christians.

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