If This Bread Could Talk

Bleeding eucharist
The Eucharist literally comes to life and demands that it be worshiped.

[This is the second installment of a three part series.]

As we have elsewhere noted, the Roman Catholic religion teaches that the bread of the Lord’s Supper literally becomes the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, and therefore must be worshiped. The worship of the bread, the Eucharist, is the highest form of worship a man may offer to God. Therefore, the Roman Mass is the highest form of worship, and the moment when the bread is transubstantiated into “Jesus” is the highest point in the Mass. The “True Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist is what makes Eucharistic Adoration obligatory, and Eucharistic Adoration, therefore, is the chief objective of Roman religion. Roman Catholics worship the Eucharist. Everything else in the religion is merely prologue to the act of adoring the bread. That is not to say that every Roman Catholic has been persuaded of this doctrine on its merits. Sometimes a miracle—a Eucharistic Miracle—is required to reinforce the practice. Continue reading If This Bread Could Talk

Like the Sun Going Down on Me

The miracle of the sun at Fatima
The Apparitions of Mary are known for their ability to bring the sun down to earth for their audiences

[This is the first installment of a three part series.]

This week, two “Marian” Popes are to be canonized as saints of the Roman Catholic church: Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Both were very public about their devotion to Mary and frequented the sites of Marian apparitions. John XXIII was particularly devoted to the apparition of Mary at Lourdes, and emphatically commended “her” message to the faithful. In 1959, at the close of the 100-year anniversary celebration of the Apparitions of Mary at Lourdes, John XXIII said:

Following the pontiffs who, for a century, have recommended to Catholics that they should be attentive to the message of Lourdes, we urge you to listen with simplicity of heart and sincerity of mind to the salutary warnings of the Mother of God. (Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Miravalle, ©2008, p. 862)

John Paul II was also devoted to the apparitions of Mary, and believed that Mary of Fatima had protected him throughout his papacy. On a papal visit to Fatima on May 13, 2000, a message from John Paul II was read to the faithful gathered there:

On this solemn occasion of his visit to Fatima, His Holiness has directed me to make an announcement to you. As you know, the purpose of his visit to Fatima has been to beatify [two of the visionaries]. Nevertheless he also wishes his pilgrimage to be a renewed gesture of gratitude to Our Lady for her protection during these years of his papacy. (Announcement by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State)

In that same message, John Paul II had it announced that he would finally make public the “third secret of Fatima,” a prophecy that had been delivered to the popes from the vision of Mary through the visionary, Lucia.

But public and private teachings are not the only things the apparitions of Mary have to offer. Continue reading Like the Sun Going Down on Me

What the Fathers Feared Most

St. Augustine
Augustine was worried that what was about to happen… was about to happen.

There is a tendency in some Christian circles to view all things eschatological through the lens of current events. This was epitomized in the late 1980s and early 1990s by a popular T-shirt that read, “If you want to understand the Book of Revelation, just read the headlines!” Every earthquake, every war, every powerful new politician was understood as evidence that the end times were now upon us. This method of interpretation is nothing new.

In some senses, we can say that Luther used this method to interpret Daniel and Revelation: Continue reading What the Fathers Feared Most

In Vain Do They Worship Me

Eucharistic adoration
The purest form of religion on earth, says Rome, is to bow before a piece of bread and worship it.

“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life,’ ” and “is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1324, 1407). And “the prayer of thanksgiving and consecration,” is “the heart and summit of the celebration” (1352). It is at the utterance of the consecration, the priest’s words, “This is My body,” and “This is the cup of My blood,” that the bread and wine are said to be “transubstantiated” into the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ:

By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity. (1413)

Because the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ is said to be present under the species of bread, the Roman Catholic Church has determined that it is unnecessary to administer the Lord’s Supper to the sheep under both species—bread and wine—so members of the flock typically receive the supper under the species of bread alone: “Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace” (1390).

It is in this manner that Roman Catholicism “honoureth Me with their lips” (Matthew 15:8) by “this do[ing] in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24), while at the same time “making the word of God of none effect” (Mark 7:13) by nullifying His Words which also say, “this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:25).

Then, after having the cup withheld from them, the sheep are told to worship the bread before eating it. Continue reading In Vain Do They Worship Me

Mother Mary Speaks to Me (part 2)

John Paul II and Mary
The visions of Mary have a long-standing, two-way, verbal relationship with the Papacy.

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Last week, we discussed the propensity of Roman Catholics to rely on visions of Mary “to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation” despite the clear instructions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church not to do so (paragraph 67). Taylor Marshall relied on several visions of Mary to bolster his argument that Jesus was born on December 25th, and Fr. Livius relied on a private revelation to help him determine the meaning of the writings of several Church Fathers. But as apologist Fr. William Most has said, “In public revelation, the Church has the promise of divine protection in teaching,” while on the content of private revelation, including apparitions, “the Church does not have such a commission.” Thus it is true that while Roman apologists cite apparitions of Mary to bolster their arguments, it is also true that Roman Catholics “can refuse assent to such revelations … provided this is done … for good reasons.” It is not uncommon (in our experience) for a Roman Catholic on the one hand to cite the many examples of apparitions as evidence that Roman Catholicism is the true church, and then, on the other hand—when the actual content of the visions is brought forward—to dismiss those same apparitions “because we are not required to believe them anyway.”

But the freedom to reject the teachings of the apparitions as “private revelation” is not so simple as that. Continue reading Mother Mary Speaks to Me (part 2)

Mother Mary Speaks to Me (part 1)

Vision of Mary
The visions of Mary provide additional revelation that is outside the original “Deposit of Faith.”

According to the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, everything that is to be known and taught by the Church is to be found in the original “Deposit of Faith,” beyond which, “no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Catechism, p. 66).

As we have discussed elsewhere, Mary is alleged to have appeared many times and in many places over the last 2,000 years. During those appearances, the visions of Mary leave behind explicit instructions and other information: one provided a design for a medal for a particular form of devotion; another provided the design for an image to be venerated; others have provided private messages for the pope; and others have left behind prophecies of things to come. These visions of Mary, or what we call “apparitions of Mary,” have very much to say. “However,” warns the catechism, “They do not belong … to the deposit of faith“: Continue reading Mother Mary Speaks to Me (part 1)