Q and A on the Bible
Taken from his book "What Say You?" p. 244-289
Writer of the Bible – "Who wrote the Bible?"
"Well, who made the Bible?"
Origin of Name – "What is the origin and meaning of the word Bible?"
Inspiration – "What is meant by the Bible being inspired? Does it mean that God wrote the words therein?"
Canon – "What do you mean by the Canon of Scripture?"
Christian Canon – "When was the Christian canon of Scripture determined?"
Catholic and Protestant Bibles – "What is the difference between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles?"
Apocrypha – "What do Protestants mean when they speak of apocryphal books?"
Truth of Canon – "How do you know that the Catholic canon is true?"
Biblical Discrepancy – "To what is due the discrepancy, 73 books in one Bible and 66 in the other?"
The Septuagint – "If you were confronted, as I have been, with a demand for the reasons that warrant the use of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, what would you say?"
Unconvinced – "What you say is interesting, yet I am not convinced. It is hard to believe that Protestants would not accept the Septuagint version of the Bible if it is valid."
Forbid Laity to read the Bible – "Is it not true that the Roman Catholic Church forbade the laity to read the Bible? Please answer Yes or No."
Rule of Faith – "You will agree, will you not, that the difference between the Protestant and Catholic religions is their rule of faith?"
"The difference is this, we Protestants have the Bible as our rule of faith, whereas Catholics look to their Church to guide them. In other words, Protestants use their brains, while Catholics depend upon the brains of their Church. That’s all I have to say."
Chained Bibles – "I’d like to ask you a question. Now don’t dodge. Didn’t your church chain the Bible during the Middle Ages, so as to keep the people ignorant of its contents?"
Search the Scriptures – "Did not our Lord say ‘Search the Scriptures’? What else could that mean but the Bible? It certainly does not refer to the Church."
Private Interpretation – "You will admit that the intellectual calibre of the people is more highly developed through individual interpretation of the Bible than by depending upon authority? I do, therefore I stand by the Protestant principle of individual liberty, for private Bible judgment."
Catholics Mental Slaves – "What’s the use of talking to Catholics about religion? They are mental slaves. As soon as you corner them, they fall back upon their Church for knowledge of the Bible. Why don’t they be Americans, free in religion, by doing their own thinking?"
Right to Believe Anything – "Well, I have a right to believe whatever I want to believe. That is one of the reasons why I am not a Catholic. I do not need priests to do my thinking."
Abomination of Desolation – "Don’t you think that the abomination of desolation we read of in the Bible is being witnessed in our 1940 World War?"
The Herd of Swine – "Talking about the Bible, do you think it right, as Matthew 8 tells us, for Christ to drive the devils into a legion of swine, who were drowned? What would you say if I destroyed a stock of swine?"
To Men of Good Will – "Which is correct? The Protestant ‘peace on earth, good will toward men,’ or the Catholic ‘on earth peace to men of good will’?"
The Sabbath Day – "The Commandment in the Bible says – ‘Keep the Sabbath holy.’ Who changed it from Saturday to Sunday? And by what right?"
The Doxology – "Why does not the Catholic Bible contain the doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, as does the Protestant Bible? It is offering praise to God – ‘For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.’"
The Lord’s Prayer – "Please explain the Lord’s Prayer. There are some parts that are puzzling to me."
Lot’s Wife – "I think the Bible would be a more interesting book if the fables therein were cut out of it. The story of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt is one of a hundred of them."
Ten Commandments – "To what is the difference in the Roman Catholic and Protestant versions of the Ten Commandments attributed? Whatever your answer may be, don’t you think the Commandments are out of date?"
N. Y. University Students – "Your answer to my question is bright, but it is not in accord with modern youth. Did you read this morning’s announcement in the public press of the poll of 1,485 students in the N. Y. University School of Commerce and Finance? Here is a copy showing a great majority of them to have voted the Ten Commandments out of date."
That the Bible is God’s Word.
That the Bible is composed of 46 books that were written before the birth of Jesus Christ, and 27 books written since that time, as defined by the Council of Carthage in 397 A.D. to form the canon of Scripture.
That the New Testament came after the Church;
That the Church did not come after the New Testament.
That before a line of the New Testament was written:
Christ established his Church;
The Apostles preached Christ and Him crucified;
St. Peter converted 3,000 Jews;
The Council of Jerusalem assembled;
The Jewish law was abrogated.
That before the last Book of the New Testament was written:
The Catholic Church had celebrated her golden jubilee;
The faith of Christ had been "proclaimed all over (the then known) world" (Rom. 1:8).
Eleven of the twelve Apostles had died.
That as late as the end of the second century, many churches, composed of believers in the doctrines of the Apostles, did not know of all the New Testament books.
That is why St. Irenaeus, martyr, Father of the Church, disciple of St. John the Divine, could say,
"If the Apostles had not left us any writings, would it not have been our duty to be guided by the rule of that tradition which they delivered to those to whom they entrusted the churches? A rule asserted by many of the barbarous nations believing in Christ, who, not possessing any written language, have the words of salvation written without paper and ink, in the hearts by the Spirit, and carefully preserve the ancient doctrines delivered to them." (Adv. Heresies, lib. iii, c. 4.).
That the authority for the inspiration, and interpretation, of the books in the Bible rests upon the living testimony of the maker of the Bible, Christ’s Church.
"Who wrote the Christian Bible?"
No one wrote the Christian Bible. The Bible is a library of books, and libraries are not written, they are made. The books and letters in the Christian Bible were written by Moses, David, Isaiah, Matthew, John, Paul, Peter and numerous other inspired writers.
"Well, who made the Christian Bible?"
The Catholic Church. This she did by collecting the Jewish and Christian writings extant, and selecting from them the books and letters that form the canon of Scripture, declaring them to be writings that were inspired by God.
"What is the origin and meaning of the word Bible?"
It came from the Greek word biblos which means the inner bark of the papyrus, paper-reed, from which paper was originally made, in Egypt. The Latin form "Biblia" spelled with a capital letter, came to mean "the Book of Books," "The Book" by way of pre-eminence, the inspired Book, etc. The Holy Scriptures were first called the Bible by St. Chrysostom, the Catholic Archbishop of Constantinople, in the 4th century. St. Jerome designated it more correctly – the Divine Library.
"What is meant by the Bible being inspired? Does it mean that God wrote the words therein?"
No, the words were written by men, but the thought was under Divine guidance. Inspiration means that an extraordinary influence was exerted by the Holy Spirit that purified, elevated the moral natures of certain men, illumined their understanding and caused them, mediately or immediately, to write the books and letters that are in the Bible.
"What do you mean by the Canon of Scripture?"
The Canon of Scripture simply means the authentic collection of those writings declared to have been inspired by God. They are called canonical, whereas those writings that were rejected as uncanonical were called apocryphal, which means not of Divine origin, not inspired.
"When was the Christian Canon of Scripture determined?"
The Canon recognized by the Catholic Church for the past fifteen centuries (73 books) was specified in the Council of Laodicea in 367 A.D., and was definitely adopted in the Council of Carthage in 397 A.D., after being sent to the Pope for confirmation.
While some of the books ratified by the Council of Carthage had always been considered to be canonical, others had been disputed. Finally at this Council a union of minds was reached as to the canonicity of the whole 73 books and epistles.
In the 16th century Martin Luther greatly stirred the religious world, by dubbing as apocrypha certain books that were unquestioned for twelve centuries. He declared the Epistle of St. James to be an "Epistle of straw"; threw "Esther" into the Elbe; called "Judith" a mere poem; "Tobias" a farce; and expressed regret that the "second Book of Machabees" was ever written. The Council of Trent (1546) therefore deemed it expedient to declare, ex-cathedra, that is by the infallible authority of the Church, that the list of books adopted at the Council of Carthage is the authoritative, the finally determined, collection of writings composed under Divine inspiration.
AND PROTESTANT BIBLES
"What is the difference between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles?"
One of the differences, and there are many of them, is that the Catholic Bible contains 73 books, as canonical, whereas the Protestant Bibles contain only 66 of these writings. The Protestant canon does not contain the following seven books: Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 1 and 2 Machabees. It also omits chapters 10:4 and 16:24 of Esther; 3:24-90; 13 and 14 of Daniel. Here is a list of both the Catholic and Protestant Old Testament Canons, the differences in some of the names being immaterial.
BOOKS IN THE BIBLE
2 Esdras (alias Nehemias)
Tobias (rejected by the protestants)
Judith (rejected by the protestants)
Esther (protestants reject 10:4; 14:24)
Canticle of Canticles
Wisdom (rejected by the protestants)
Ecclesiasticus (rejected by the protestants)
Baruch (rejected by the protestants)
Daniel (protestants reject 3:24-90; 13:15)
1 Machabees (rejected by the protestants)
2 Machabees (rejected by the protestants)
Esther (excluding 10:4; 14:24)
Song of Solomon
Daniel (excluding 3:24-90; 13:15)
The number and names of Catholic and Protestant books in the New Testament are alike.
The differences between Catholic and Protestant Bibles have been due largely to "Reformation" translations that were motivated by hostility towards Catholic teachings and practices, which is not as intense among Protestants today as it used to be. One of the doctrinal instances, that has been corrected in the Revised Version, bears evidence of having been prompted by a desire to refute the Catholic practice of serving Communion under one kind, believing, as Catholics do, that Christ is present whole and entire, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearance of bread as well as under the appearance of wine. This was done by inserting the word AND in the place of OR in verse 27, chapter XI of the First Corinthians. The original reads: "Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink this wine unworthily, etc."
St. Matthew 6:7 is made to read in the Protestant text: "When ye pray, use not vain repetitions." This is aimed at the repeated prayers of Catholics while saying the Rosary, as if repetition of the "Our Father" that Christ taught, and the "Hail Mary full of grace" salutation of the Angel Gabriel, were "vain." The Catholic text, of pre-Protestant origin, reads – "But in praying, do not multiply words, as the Gentiles do." It was not "repetitions" but "much speaking" that was condemned, as Saint Augustine said fifteen centuries ago: "Christ does not forbid much praying, but much speaking."
Luke 1:28 is made in the Protestant Bible to read: "Hail, you art highly favored," when the Angel Gabriel said – "Hail, full of grace," as it appears in the Catholic Bible. The authority of the Latin Fathers, and the codices of Alexandrinus in the British Museum, the Epraenus rescriptus in Paris, and the Bezae in Cambridge University, stand as present-day evidence to sustain the Catholic translation.
There are many differences that are not of vital import, such as the Psalms in the Protestant Bible being numbered according to modern Jewish instead of early Christian and ancient Jewish practice, beginning by dividing Ps. X.; also by calling the last book in the Bible The Book of Revelation instead of the Apocalypse, which "signifies a revelation, a making known, (and) also means the revealing of one’s self, a coming."
"What do Protestants mean when they speak of apocryphal books?"
They mean the seven books found in the Catholic Bible which Protestants declare to be uncanonical.
Catholics apply the term to those spurious books, most of them written during the two centuries before Christ, that are not genuinely scriptural in the view of Jews and Protestants as well as Catholics.
Up to twenty-five years ago nearly all Protestant Bibles contained the seven books that Protestants list as apocrypha. Some years ago Rev. Dr. Milo Gates, vicar of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Intercession, in New York City, told why he deplored the "mutilation" of the Bible by the elimination of those books called "Apocrypha." Let me read you part of what he said:
"Up to the time when a small but very noisy block of Scottish Presbyterians began their agitation in the British and Foreign Bible Society for the omission of these books every Bible had them. In fact every Bible had them until about 1826. In that year a Bible publishing society – the British and Foreign – voted to drop them. Immediately the English Bible Society threw out these books the Continental Bible societies ceased to work with them. Today the Apocrypha are in the Bibles of all the great churches – the Orthodox, Roman, Lutheran, Anglican and the Episcopal. We appeal for an unmutilated Bible in the interest of Christian unity."
"In the second place, no one can really understand the New Testament without knowledge of these books. There are more than 111 quotations and allusions to the Apocrypha in the New Testament.
"In the third place, some of the most blessed doctrines of the Church come from these books, and others we find developing in these books" (New York Times, Dec. 10, 1928).
To list as "apocrypha," not genuine, seven Septuagint Old Testament Books, of which "more than 111 quotations and allusions" are recorded in the Protestant New Testament as having been used by Christ and the Apostles is an offense, though not so intended by the Protestants of our day and generation.
One of the reasons given by Protestant churches for rejecting the seven books, is that doubts as to their authenticity were expressed in the early Church. But so were doubts expressed regarding the Epistles of St. Jude, St. James, 2nd and 3rd St. John, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Book of Revelation, until the Catholic Church made her canon of Scripture in the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.). It is interesting to note that Protestant churches do not include any books in their New Testament that the Catholic Church rejected, even though some of them were in use during the first years of the Church.
Here is a list of sixteen spurious books among the many extant today:
The Gospel of St. Thomas
The Gospel According to the Hebrews
St. Paul’s Epistle to the Laodiceans
The Epistle of St. Barnabas
The Epistle of St. Bartholomew
The Epistle of the Shepherd of Hermas
The Acts of Thecla
The Apostolic Constitutions
The Gospel of St. James
The Apocalypse of St. Peter
The Epistle of St. Clement
The Epistle of St. Polycarp
The Epistle of St. Phillip
The Acts of Pilate
The Acts of Paul
The Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles
"How do you know the Catholic canon is true?"
By the only way the truth of it can be known with certitude; that is through such a statement as appears in II Peter 1:21 – "the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Spirit" – and Divine tradition, both vouched for by an infallible authority. Books cannot vouch for themselves. The writings themselves can never be proof of their being Divinely inspired; neither can reliance with certainty be placed upon our individual judgment, save God sends an angel to inform us, as He did "to His servant John." Considering that such an infallible power does not abide, and is not claimed to abide in those churches that have rejected the Catholic canon of Scripture, they were devoid of the Divine power that is necessary to guarantee the canon with any degree of certitude.
Some years ago a Protestant professor, Dr. Marcus Dods, who came to our country from Scotland, said in his lectures, since published:
"If you ask a Romanist why he accepts certain books as canonical, he has a perfectly intelligible answer ready. He accepts these books because the Church bids him do so. The Church has determined what books are canonical and he accepts the decision of the Church. If you ask a Protestant why he believes that just these books bound up together in the Bible are canonical, and neither more nor fewer, I fear that ninety-nine Protestants out of a hundred could give you no answer that would satisfy a reasonable man. Protestants scorn the Romanist because he relies on the authority of the Church, but he can not tell you on what authority he himself relies. The Protestant watchword is: ‘The Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible,’ but how many Protestants are there who could make it quite clear that within the boards of their Bible they have the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible?" (pp. 31-32, "The Bible, It’s Origin and Nature.")
"To what is due the biblical discrepancy, 73 books in one Bible and 66 in another?"
Mainly to the declaration of the Catholic Church that the Septuagint, the Alexandrian version of the Old Testament, of 46 books, is the authentic, complete scriptural text, while Protestant Churches adopted the Palestinian version of only 39 of those 46 books.
"If you were confronted, as I have been, with a demand for some reasons that warrant the use of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, what would you say?"
I would explain the meaning of the term Septuagint, the origin of that biblical text, the reason for its adoption by the Catholic Church, the authority that warrants Catholics believing with absolute certainty that the Septuagint text contains all of the Divinely inspired books of the Old Testament, and therefore the inadequacy and unauthenticity of the Protestant Canon.
The Septuagint means seventy. It is the name given the version of the Old Testament translation, into Greek, that was made by 70 Jerusalem Jews, under two leaders who did not participate in the work of translation. They were translators, learned in the Hebrew language, who were sent to Alexandria by the Jewish High Priest Eleazer of Jerusalem, at the behest of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.), to translate the Greek the Jewish Divine books then extant.
Greek was a world language when the Septuagint translation was made; Hebrew as a language was on the decline among the Jews long before those days. That is no doubt the reason why all but one of the books in the New Testament were written in Greek. During the days of the second temple Aramaic was the language spoken by the Jews of Palestine. "Some of the outstanding philosophic Jewish religious and literary creations were written in Greek and Aramaic" during those times, says the "Zionist Record" (July, 1940). Hebrew was hardly known by the Jews outside of Palestine, where this holy language of the Jews was so little known that "a translator stood beside the reader in the Synagogue to translate the Hebrew into Aramaic."
The Septuagint translation was made in the third century before the coming of Christ. It was used by the Jews of Alexandria, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy and other Greek speaking countries, also by the Rabbis of Palestine at the time of the coming of Christ. Its authenticity was not questioned by the Jews until after the Messiah came into His own, after He was rejected by most of them, and the Christian Church had taken the place of the Synagogue. The latest Jewish evidence of this appears in Vallentine’s "Jewish Encyclopedia" (London, 1938, p. 562). To quote:
"The appearance of the Septuagint was greeted with enthusiasm by the Jews everywhere, but with the rise of the Christian sect and its adoption of this version of its Bible, the Jews began to denounce it vehemently, accusing the Christians of falsifying the Greek text here and there" (Emphasis mine).
The Septuagint, which was quoted favorably by Philo and Josephus, is said to have been made by each of the 70 translators working independently of the others. Their work is so identical that it was said to be "as though some invisible prompter had whispered into the ears of each." Rabbi Abraham Meyer Heller says, – "although the work of translation was done by each (of the 70) without consulting the others, they were all found to be exactly alike" ("The Vocabulary of Jewish Life," N. Y. 1942, p. 214). Be that so or not, one may reasonably believe that the Septuagint was providential. It enabled the knowledge of the Old Law, its Divine prophesies, and their culmination in the coming of the Messiah, to be spread among the Gentiles who did not know the Hebrew language. The general expectation of the coming of "the great king who was to arise among the Jews," such as caused the Magi to journey to Bethlehem, was due to this Greek version of the Old Testament.
The integrity of the Septuagint was not questioned by the Jews during the days when they spoke with authority on matters relating to the interpretation of the law that God had placed within their keeping. This, as we have seen, is substantiated by the English "Jewish Encyclopedia," quoted a moment ago. Besides, in those days the integrity of the sacred books was so faithfully safeguarded from corruption by a body of Jewish Scribes that "the appearance of the Septuagint" would not have been "greeted with enthusiasm everywhere" if it were not an exact translation of the 46 books of inspired Hebrew text.
The canon of only 39 Old Testament books in Protestant Bibles is of unsound historic standing, for it is definitively of Jewish non-Palestinian origin, having been agreed upon as the canon of the Jews during their dispersion, after "the glory had departed" from Jewry, a "glory" which was theirs when they had an Aaronic priesthood, a Temple, a Sanhedrin, sacrifices, and a reasonable hope of the coming of the Messiah, as He had not yet come. This is vouched for by Dr. Joseph Reider, Professor of Biblical Philology, Dropsie College, Philadelphia, in Vallentine’s Jewish Encyclopedia. He says:
"The definitive act of canonization of the complete Scriptures is known to have taken place at the synod of Jabneh (ca. 90 A.D.), soon after the destruction of the Second Temple, at the instigation of Rabbi Akiba" (p. 94).
Then, again, and this is most important, there are 270 quotations from the Old Testament that were used by Christ and the Apostles, a vast number of which show traces of having come from the Septuagint. A number of them are listed in "The Catholic Students’ Aids to the Bible," by Rev. Hugh Pope, O.P. (Vol I, p. 140, London 1926). "Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary" (Protestant) says – "the Septuagint was manifestly the chief storehouse from which both Christ and the Apostles drew their proofs and precepts" (pp. 604-5).
While the Catholic Church depends upon the use of the Septuagint by Christ and the Apostles, as well as tradition, to sustain her declaration that the 46 books therein are writings inspired by God, she has her infallible power, exercised during the Council of Trent, to eliminate all doubts on the part of Catholics as to their Divine authenticity.
Under the Old Dispensation there were 80 high priests (pontiffs), occupants of the Chair of Moses, who spoke with authority regarding Holy Writ, though they did not speak with infallible authority. Under the New Dispensation there have thus far been 262 pontiffs, who, as occupants of the Chair of Peter, were endowed with infallible authority in determining the Divine validity of Holy Writ, either individually or in union with other bishops in ecumenical council assembled, such as the Councils of Jerusalem, Nicea, Trent and the Vatican, to name a few of them.
The Protestant churches have not, nor do they assume to have such infallible power. Hence the Protestant question of the authenticity and canonicity of the books in the Bible is dependant upon mere human judgment, which is faulty, hence questionable. On the other hand, if the Catholic Church has not the infallible power she claims to have, then is there no certainty whatsoever as to whether the 46 or 39 books of the Old Testament are of Divine Origin (see Infallibility).
"What you say is interesting, yet I am not convinced. It is hard to believe that Protestants would not accept the Septuagint version of the Bible if it is valid."
It is not difficult for persons who know the non-Catholic mind to understand why Catholic facts and arguments convince only a small percentage of Protestants. They have an inherited protesting mentality against things Catholic. The psychological pro-Protestant atmosphere in which they live; the instruction they receive from persons who are unfavorable to Catholic teachings, practices and history; the religious books and papers they read; the knowledge they imbibe from Sunday School teachers who know not the Catholic attitude toward the Bible, build into their very being a resistance to the acceptance of Catholic claims that only the grace of God can overcome. It is very difficult to unlearn false concepts that one has sincerely cherished. This is due at times to the consciousness that supplanting such concepts with Catholic belief means a break with family, friends and interests that are Protestant. I recall an occasion when an Episcopalian Minister, being told by one of his church members that he was going into the Catholic Church, said – "the next step is into an insane asylum." Protestants often admire the beauty of the exterior things in the Catholic Church, but it is difficult for them to believe that an intelligent persons can become a Catholic through intellectual conviction. When G. K. Chesterton entered the Catholic Church, Rev. Orvis E Jordan said:
"He is esthetic not rational. The artist ever loves the religion of the ritual. One cannot visit the great churches of Europe without deciding to embrace Roman Catholicism, provided his interests are primarily artistic. Whatever else this great communion may lack, one must cheerfully concede its primacy in architecture, statuary, and painting. Other churches may imitate, but scarcely hope to equal, the beautiful appointments of the Catholics of Europe" (Zion’s Herald, Oct. 4, 1922).
One thing we cannot escape when confronted with facts that are new and likely to entail sacrifice, is our conscience. It is the guide we are morally obligated to follow. Resistance to truth, which God has given us the grace to know, is resistance to God, Who speaks to us through our conscience.
Whether or not you accept the "interesting" facts, there they stand never to be dislodged by refusal to accept them because the makers of the Protestant Bible rejected them. More recently Professor Betts (Methodist) of the Northwestern University said, that forty-three per cent of the 700 ministers he canvassed do not believe the Bible to be of God. Here are the interesting facts: Fact one is that the Old Testament canon of Scripture used by Protestants was not definitively determined by the Jews until they were no longer the keepers and interpreters of God’s law. Fact two is that the motive that prompted the Jews to reject the seven Septuagint was quoted, and so accepted as authentic, by Christ and the Apostles. Fact four is that the Septuagint canon was accepted and used by almost the whole Christian world from the days of the Council of Carthage until the days of the "Reformers."
If the Septuagint version is invalid, then it is up to Protestants to explain why they give Greek Septuagint names instead of Hebrew names, or their English equivalent names to the books of Moses. Why call those books the Pentateuch instead of the Torah or its English designation, Instruction? Why Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers (translation of the Greek Arithmoi), and Deuteronomy? Instead of the Palestinian Hebrew names, Bereshith, Shemoth, Vayikra, Bemidbar, and Debarim? Or their English equivalents, The Beginning, Names, And He Called, In the Wilderness, and Words? Why call the Book "The Bible," which is the Greek (Anglicized) name the Catholic Church gave the Septuagint in union with the New Testament?
It is interesting to note that Chanukah, the Feast of Lights, which the Jews celebrate for eight successive days each year, centers on the story of the Maccabees that appears in the last two books of the Septuagint version, which the Catholic Church preserved and declared to have been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This feast was instituted by Judas Maccabeus as a memorial of the rededication of the sanctuary which was defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes. The thrilling story of the Maccabees, glorious martyrs for their religion, is read and exalted every year by the Jews, as is the Book of Esther during the Feast of Purim. Surely the books of the Maccabees are higher in religious quality, represent a more honorable service and sacrifice for the honor and glory of God, then does the Book of Esther, which the Jews of 1938 in Jerusalem tried to have excluded from their canon of Holy Scripture. Considering that Chanukah, the Feast of Lights, ranks higher than does the Feast of Purim, no reason save hostility towards Christianity during the Talmud-writing days can account for rejecting the two Books of the Maccabees as uncanonical and placing the section of the Book of Esther that has not God in it into the Jewish canon. Rabbi Leon Bernstein declared that if it were not "for these two apocryphal books," this glorious story of the Maccabees might have been unknown to the world ("Flavius Josephus His Times and Critics," 1938).
Your query embodies a consciousness of the value of the facts you found "interesting," but refused to accept. Surely you are morally obligated to make a further investigation of them. You have passed the stage of "invincible ignorance" that excuses many persons who do not know the sound arguments that sustain the belief that the Catholic Bible is the one and only complete Library of inspired writings.
FORBID LAITY THE BIBLE
"Is it not true that the Roman Catholic Church forbade the laity to read the Bible? Please answer Yes or No."
There are some questions that cannot be answered Yes or No.
"Ask me one."
I will. What time is it? Now come, answer it Yes or No.
"I give up."
Thanks for your frankness. I believe you will also "give up" after you learn why the answer to your question is Yes from one angle, and No from another.
A proper understanding of this Yes and No answer is dependent upon an appreciation of the fact that the Catholic Church made the Christian Bible and preserved the integrity of the writings in it from the infancy of Christianity, because she cherished the Bible as the Word of God.
The Catholic Church is Christocentric, being of and for Christ; being the "Mystical Body of Christ." She holds with St. Jerome that "ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ"; she knows, to quote Cardinal Newman, that "Scripture may be said to be the medium in which the mind of the Church is energized and developed." Therefore, her first concern is that Catholics should know the truths about Christ that are in the Bible.
In the days when there were no printing presses, paper, libraries, and other means of enlightenment that we have today; when the percentage of persons who could read and write was very low, the Catholic Church taught Bible truths through sermons that were invariably biblical; through mystery, Passion and Easter plays; religious music of the highest order; paintings, stained glass windows, cathedrals adorned with carvings that were biblical, and in other practical ways. St. Benedict Bishop, Benedictine Abbot of Wearmouth in Northumbria, who introduced the art of making class windows and building stone churches into England during the 7th century, decided upon a then novel method of bringing home outstanding incidents in the Bible to those who could not read. He procured a large number of paintings from Italy, portraying great biblical events, and hung them in his churches. The result was, as Venerable Bede, his biographer, said: "The most illterate peasant could not enter the Church without receiving profitable instruction."
What the Catholic Church positively forbade her children to do, was read false, perverted, counterfeit translations of the Bible. It is love of the Bible as the Word of God, as well as her high regard for the religious and moral welfare of her children, that caused the Catholic Church to be as strenuously opposed to counterfeit Bibles as the State is opposed to counterfeit money. The Catholic Church stands for–
Scripture writ by God’s own hand;
Scripture authentic! Uncorrupted by man."
Counterfeit money robs people of their goods and thus causes them a temporary loss; whereas counterfeit Bibles rob the people of religious truth, proper moral guidance, and their faith, thus threatening the loss of their eternal happiness.
The fight of the Catholic Church to safeguard her children from the loss of their faith through counterfeit Bibles has caused her to be charged for the past four hundred years with being hostile to the Bible. If it were not for the false notions in the minds of Protestants, they would clearly see the wisdom of the Catholic Church reflected in the rejection by Protestants of nine-tenths of those counterfeit Bibles the Catholic Church forbade her children to read. Why condemn the Catholic Church for condemning Bibles centuries ago that Protestants themselves reject today? They were no more the Word of God than are counterfeit dollars and sovereigns the currency of the United States and the British Empire. Just to call some to your attention. Luther’s Bible, in its early editions, omitted five Epistles and the Apocalypse, as well as the seven books in the Old Testament which all Protestant Churches reject. Its corruption is seen in the denial of the necessity of good works, as well as faith, for the attainment of salvation, by inserting the word "alone" in the text of the Epistle of St. James, so that it read "man is justified by faith alone." When Catholics objection to this corruption was called to the attention of Luther, he said:
"Your Papist makes a great fuss about this addition of the word alone. Tell him that Dr. Martin Luther wills that it should be translated that way. – We do not wish to be disciples of Papists, who look on altering the Scriptures a sin."
As for Tyndale’s much talked of "Bible," his translation of the New Testament, it suffices to quote what Canon Dixon, an Anglican historian, said:
"Every one of the little volumes containing portions of the Sacred Text that was issued by Tyndale, contained also a prologue and notes written with such hot fury against the prelates and clergy, the monks and the friars, the rites and ceremonies of the Church as were hardly likely to commend it to the favor of those who were attacked. Tyndale rejected some of the ecclesiastical terms, substituted others, in the interest of his anti-Catholic propaganda, ‘Church’ became ‘congregation,’ ‘priest’ became ‘elder,’ ‘grace’ became ‘favor’ and ‘gift’: on the contrary, for ‘idols’ he gave ‘image’; John (XVI, 2) became ‘they shall excommunicate you’ for ‘cast you out.’"
You very likely know of the grotesque editions of the Protestant Bibles which, on account of their misprints, were designated the "Breeches Bible," the "Murderer’s Bible," the "Vinegar Bible," ‘He," "She," "Bug," "Whig," and "Treacle" and "Wicked" Bibles. During our Prohibition days, some Yale University Professors, a department editor of Scribner’s Magazine, and some scribes in the Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. issued a "Shorter Bible," nicknamed the "Raisen Cake Bible." Hosea 3:1 which reads "who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine" was changed to read – "though they turn to other gods and love to eat raisin cakes at festivals." II Samuel 6:19 – which reads: "And he dealt among the people" – "to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine," was changed to read: "And distributed – a roll of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins." To further bolster up their prohibition belief at the expense of the Word of God, the authors of this "Raisin Cake Bible" omitted the story of the marriage feast of Cana, where Christ honored the occasion by performing the first of His many miracles, turning water into wine, at the solicitation of His Mother Mary, in order to continue the merriment of the hosts and their guests.
Instead of finding fault with the Catholic Church for her stand against corrupt Bibles, you ought to love her for maintaining the integrity of the pure and unadulterated Word of God, if you love the Bible.
RULE OF FAITH
"You will agree, will you not, that the difference between the Protestant and Catholic religions is their rule of faith?"
Go ahead, just finish what you have to say. Your answer will follow.
"The difference is this, we Protestants have the Bible as our rule of faith, whereas Catholics look to their church to guide them. In other words, Protestants use their own brains, while Catholics depend upon the brains of their Church. That’s all I have to say."
You have said enough to show that your understanding of the Catholic rule of faith is inadequate, and that your estimation of Catholics, who accept the authority of their Church in matters of faith and morals, is lacking in proper judgment.
You would not say that a sick man wisely used his "brains" if he went to a Materia Medica to make out his own prescription instead of depending upon the "brains" of a physician to cure him? Certainly not! Christ is our Divine Physician. He operates through His living teaching body, the Church, the spiritual corporation with which He promised to remain until the consummation of the world, and with which He has thus far been for more than 1900 years. Christ commissioned that Living Body to prescribe for, take care of, and cure sin-sick souls. Is it, therefore, wise to go to the Materia Christiana to make out your own moral prescription instead of depending upon the "Brains" that made the Book, the Church? It would be all right to go to the Book, if we allow the "brains" of the Church to guide us. Then and then only can we be certain to get out of it the prescription that will strengthen our understanding, that will restore us to moral health. The doctrinal unity of belief on the part of Catholics in contrast of the wisdom of dependence upon the "brains" of the Church for guidance.
It is not correct to place the Bible in contrast to the Church as the rule of faith. The Bible is a rule of faith of Catholics, but not their sole rule of faith, as it is of Protestants. The Bible is to Catholics the inspired source book for the elucidation of faith, but first things come first in the religion of Catholics. The Church is historically first, the Bible second. Therefore, Catholics avoid the tail-wagging-the-dog attitude, by holding the Church and the Bible to be the true Christian rule of faith, the Bible as traditionally interpreted by the Church that selected the Divinely inspired writings within its covers.
The Bible as the sole rule of faith in the Christian world is of 16th century, Martin Luther origin, and not of first century Christian origin. Luther had no more right to make the Bible the sole rule of faith than he had to change St. James Epistle to read that "justification comes by faith alone."
The Protestant rule of faith is a denial of the faith of the early Christians, who accepted no such Protestant standard of religious judgment. The Church of Christ was in existence for about 15 years before the first Book in the New Testament was written, and the last book was not written until 45 years after that. Think of the thousands of devout persons who lived a Christian life, of the many persons who suffered martyrdom for Christ during the first century without reading a Bible, which was non-existent at that time. They received their crown of glory by depending upon the Apostles of Christ for their guidance. Christ said to his followers, as He says to you and to me, "hear the Church" (St. Matt. 18":17), not to take a non-existing, or a to-come-into-existence Bible, as their rule of faith. Christ commanded His apostles to "go and preach the Gospel," not to write, though it was within their power and privilege to do so. Christ said – "He that heareth you, heareth Me." That is why St. Paul told the Romans (10:17), and says to us alike, that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ."
Was Tertullian, the father of Christian Latin literature, lacking in "brains" when (before there was a formally codified Christian Bible) he called Tradition, the tradition of the Church, "the only rule of faith." (De Vel. Virg., C. 1)? – "the rule which the Church received from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ, Christ from God" (Prescript, C.XXXVII)? It was the Church that made the Bible a rule of faith in the days after Tertullian, when a final agreement was reached regarding the Canon of Holy Scripture. But it was the Bible explained by and subject to the traditional teachings of the Church, for the written word must be defined by the authoritative and living voice of the infallible teaching Church.
The poor benighted Catholics, whether they use the "brains" of their Church or the little they are supposed to have in their brainpan, are not so dumb as to fail to realize the unsoundness of the Bible only as a rule of faith. It does not take much intellectual acumen to realize that from the days of Luther and Elizabeth, to the days of Mrs. Eddy and Judge Rutherford, every one of the hundreds of Protestant churches came into existence on the assumption that all the other existing churches calling themselves Christian had departed from primitive Christianity, and it – the new Sect – was going to return thereto. Each of them claimed the Bible as its sole rule of faith. Catholics, using their own brains as well as the brains of their church, appreciate the historic fact that primitive Christianity, the Christianity of the first century, the Christianity which each of the Protestant churches claimed or claim to represent, could not have possibly had such a rule of faith. Catholics cannot help but believe that the Twelve Apostles had "brains," but of what use were they from the point of view of the standard upheld by Protestantism? They could not feed their "brains" out of a Christian Bible. "Why?" Because the books of the Christian Bible had not been formally assembled during the lifetime of the Apostles. They know that St. John is the only one of the Twelve who could possibly have seen all the books that are in the New Testament. "Why?" Because eleven of the Twelve died before St. John wrote his Gospel, and that Gospel did not formally become part of the Canon of Holy Scripture until centuries after St. John died when the Canon was formally fixed. The Christ-made, Apostle-used authority, guide, "rule of faith," was the Church, for such a thing as a New Testament, Protestant "rule of faith" did not and could not exist.
It does not take much exercising of brains to realize that without a living, Divinely instituted authority there is no way of knowing, with certitude, whether the writings in the Bible were inspired by God, or what those writings really mean. Therefore, the most manifest sign of true wisdom, in matters religious and moral, is the brain action of Catholics listening to the Voice of Christ expressed through the Divine guaranteed "brains" of the Church of Christ.
"I’d like to ask you a question. Now don’t dodge. Didn’t you Church chain the Bible during the Middle Ages so as to keep the people ignorant of its contents?"
If dodging were my practice, which it is not, there wouldn’t be any need of "ducking" your easily answered, offensively-put query.
Your are correct in one thing. The Catholic Church did chain the Bible in the Middle Ages. But your conclusion therefrom is false. The Catholic Church chained the Bible in order to instruct her children and not to keep them ignorant of its contents.
Bibles during the Middle Ages were written by hand, as the printing press was not invented until the year 1438. Paper was not used during the Middle Ages, as the first paper mill was not built until the 15th century (in England). Every monastery had a scriptorium, a writing room, in those ages, where priests and monks diligently and lovingly transcribed Bibles. In that way the texts we have today were preserved. It is calculated to have taken 427 skins or parchments, at a cost of a thousand dollars, for material upon which to write a single Bible. Hence Bibles could not be distributed then as they are distributed today.
Those chained Bibles were Open Bibles. The people who could not afford to own a Bible stood at a desk, lectern or stall in the aisles and corridors of the Catholic Churches during those Middle Ages, for there were no Protestant Churches in those days, and read those valuable open chained Bibles, to their hearts’ content.
Thus you see, or ought to see, that chained Bibles were Bibles used for educational purposes. Your misconception, gleaned no doubt from anti-Catholic sources, is as unreasonable as to conclude that telephone books, city directories and dictionaries are fastened to telephone booths, druggist counters and library tables in order to keep people ignorant of the numbers, addresses, and definitions in them.
Pray, dear sir, set aside your prejudicial concept for a moment and calmly ask yourself this question; what is there in the Bible that the Catholic Church did not want its laity to know? The Bible sustains Catholic belief. If that were not so, the Catholic Church would not have worked as ardently as she did to preserve and maintain its integrity. Bear this fact in mind, if the Bible did not sustain Catholic Christian belief, the Catholic Church could very possibly have destroyed every manuscript of the New Testament, and books her learned children wrote about them, 1500 years before such a thing as the Protestant Bible was conceived.
The Bible teaches that Christ is God, the second Person of the Divine Trinity. This basic Christian truth every Catholic is taught and believes, whereas it is denied by a growing number of so-called Bible Christians. The Bible proves that Christ established a living, visible, organic, indestructible Church with Peter as its visible head; and Christ constituted a priesthood as a continuation of Himself in the world; that to this priesthood He delegated the authority to administer the Sacraments He instituted; that to this priesthood, and this priesthood alone, was delegated the power to do what Christ did at the Last supper, change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood for a sacrament and to offer them to God the Father as a Sacrifice. The Bible proves conclusively that the Apostles and their successors are the Christ-authorized teachers of the Word of God who have the power to forgive sins in the name of Christ. All these fundamental Christian beliefs of the Apostles and their successors throughout the Christian ages are denied by non-Catholic Bible opponents of the Catholic Church.
In concluding this lengthy reply to your charge, I desire to say that the people of the Middle Ages had a more organic and truly Christian understanding of Bible truths than have the opponents of the Catholic Church today, when Bibles can be purchased of the price of admission to a "movie."
SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES
"Did not our Lord say ‘Search the Scriptures’? What else could that mean but the Bible? It certainly does not refer to the Church."
It is not proper to quote those three words out of a Bible text, when they do not correctly tell what was in the mind of our Lord when He said "search the Scriptures."
Our Lord did say, "search the Scriptures," but not in the sense of favoring private interpretation of Old Testament scripture. First of all, because our Lord stood for obedience to the authoritative teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees, as they occupied the "seat of Moses," the seat of authority in interpreting and voicing the Law:
"All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do..." (St. Matt. 23:2-3).
Secondly, because the Jewish Law stood for authoritative, traditional interpretation of scripture.
The only way to get a correct understanding of the words of our Lord is to look at them in their setting. Here they are:
"You search the Scriptures, because in them you think to find that you have life everlasting. And it is they that bear witness of Me, yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life" (St. John 5:39-40).
Our Lord was rebuking the Pharisees for their malice and obstinacy, while stressing the fact, found in the scriptures, that He was the Messiah therein foretold to come.
The original Greek word "search" does not here mean a command, to take up a task which had been neglected. The word used in the text, is like saying "Ye search" or "you Pharisees are accustomed to search the scriptures." Any other interpretation would be unintelligible. Our Lord knew the Pharisees, therefore He did not take them to task for failing to read the Scriptures, for He knew that they studied every word of them, and wrote commentaries on the Law, though with a "veil upon their heart," as St. Paul said (II Cor. 3:14). The same thing is taking place among Orthodox Jews today. They study every word of the Old Testament and do not see that it gives testimony of the personage who is Jesus, their Messiah. As a matter of fact, what the Lord is bringing out is that mere reading and studying of the Scriptures offers no guarantee that God’s truth will be perceived. The Pharisees were specialists in Bible reading, yet missed the truth.
By paraphrasing the words of our Lord, what He said to the Pharisees may be seen to apply to the Bible Christians of our day who, holding the Bible privately interpreted to be the only rule of faith, and divided into hundreds of churches:
"You search the Bible, because in it you think to find Truth. And it is the Bible that bears witness of My Church, yet you are not willing to come into it, that you may be guided and nourished to eternal life."
The words Search the Bible do not mean that Bible Christians should read the Bible, which they do, though the "veil upon their hearts" keeps them from properly understanding it, any more than "Search the Scriptures" means that the Pharisees should read the Scriptures, or that you or I should read them. The Church stands before Bible Christians as Christ stood before the Pharisees, but they see her not. There she stands with the sacramental means Christ gave her to administer; yet they turn to man-made churches, with their emasculated Bibles, in defiance of the command of Christ to give ear to His universal Church against which error has raged for 1900 years.
It is a good thing to "search the scriptures," but under the guidance of the living traditional teachings of the Church that gave the Christian Bible to the world. Thus is man led to certitude and doctrinal unity in religion and morals. Otherwise there is grave danger that the Scriptures will be wrested to man’s own destruction, something II Peter 3:15 warns man to avoid: "In which are certain things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction."
"You will admit that the intellectual caliber of the people is more highly developed through individual interpretation of the Bible than by depending upon authority? I do. Therefore I stand by the Protestant principle of individual liberty, for private Bible judgment."
No, I do not admit your conclusion, nor your premise. To claim an unconditional right to interpret the Bible according to your personal understanding is carrying the principle of individualism into license, which does not elevate one’s intellectual caliber.
Individual liberty is a natural rig with which God has endowed us. We should insist upon maintaining it. We have an unalienable right to exercise that gift, provided that in so doing we do not conflict with the law of God and the legitimate law of the State. The individual is the primary unit in religion and morality, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church. It is based upon the belief that the human soul is an individual soul; that it was created directly be God for an eternity of happiness with God. While the family, the Church and the State may help, and should help the individual soul to attain its ultimate objective, it is only the individual soul itself that can gain salvation for itself.
The same God who made the individual soul, and endowed it with individual rights, laid down the law that must be obeyed if the soul is to attain its eternal end, and that law automatically excludes the unfettered principle of private judgment. The Bible says that God alone shall be worshiped. That is a restriction upon individual liberty, it prohibits the bestowing of Divine worship upon images. The Bible says "thou shalt not commit adultery." That is another restriction upon the liberty of the individual, for it prohibits an association which the lust of man and woman may crave. With all your positiveness, no one here believes you would carry your principle of private judgment so far as to tear down those Bible-recorded barriers which keep the soul subject to the will of God, and therefore checks it from assuming the right of private judgment.
The Bible itself contradicts the principle of "private Bible judgment." Therein we see the Ethiopian riding in a chariot, reading the Book of Isaiah, Philip, the Deacon, an inspired teacher, said "thinkest thou that thou understandst what thou readest?" Who, recognizing the necessary of authority, instead of relying on his private judgment, said: "How can I, unless some man show me?" Upon which Philip took a seat beside him and explained the puzzling passage (Acts 8:26-40).
We need a Divine interpreter as much today as did the Ethiopian twenty centuries ago, if exactness in our understanding of the Bible is to obtain. Something more than the Bible is necessary to an understanding of the Bible, and that is the divine tradition of the Church that made the Bible. To cite one instance only. How can we understand the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday without the tradition of the Catholic church?
St. Paul, recognizing the chaos of private judgment, told of the necessity of making the mind "captive" to a higher, an infinite intelligence, by voluntarily submitting to guidance, as did the Ethiopian, if we would not "overthrow reasonings." In indicating his Apostleship, St. Paul said: "We bring every mind into captivity to the obedience of Christ..." (2 Cor. 10:5-6)
If the principle of private interpretation is sound, why limit it to the Bible? Why not extend it to our American Constitution? No doubt you will answer, "it would dis-unite our United States, it would lead to anarchy." That is just what would result in the U.S.A., and that is exactly what private interpretation of the Bible did to Protestantism. It created doctrinal anarchy that leads farther and farther away from belief in such vital Christian principles as the Divinity of Christ and the authenticity of the Bible.
The principle of private judgment, that Luther introduced into the Christian world, came from a sect in Jewry known as the Karaites (Mikrah or Maraim, "Readers of the Scriptures") that originated in Babylonia during the eighth century. It rejected all rabbinical and Talmudic authority, basing its teachings on the Bible individually interpreted. The doctrinal effect of this Karaite principle led the Lutherans to deny the Sacrifice instituted by Christ at the Last Supper, and to permit teachings within its twenty-two divisions of Lutheranism that range all the way from Orthodoxy to Rationalism: The Anglican-Protestant Episcopal Churches are called "comprehensive," as all kinds of religious beliefs are tolerated within them, even the denial of the Divinity of Christ: The Presbyterians stand for Calvin’s predestination, somewhat modified, that denies freedom of the will, holding man to be an absolute slave of God, as a result of Adam’s fall: The Methodists reject five of the seven Sacraments, giving the other two an interpretation that denies pre-sixteenth century Christian belief: the Baptists deny infant baptism and the rightful existence of bishops and priests: The Quakers deny the Trinity, failing to find it in the Bible: The Seventh Day Adventists reject Sunday and adopt the Saturday of the Jews as their Sabbath: The Mormons find warrant in the Bible for their belief in polygamy: the Christian Scientists for rejecting the use of physicians in times of illness: the Holy Rollers for belief that their preachers have the gift of tongues: the Mennonites for refusing to take up arms, even in defense of their country: the Witnesses of Jehovah for designating flag saluting as a sin: while the "True Church of God" interprets St. Mark 16:18 to warrant the use of copperhead snakes in their services, and to be bitten by them as a test of their faith. These are relatively but a few of the anarchic results of private interpretation of the Bible, which has split Protestant Christianity into hundreds of different sects. It began in the early days of Protestantism. England’s greatest poet noted it in the Merchant of Venice:
damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it with a text."
If a principle is known by its fruits, as it should be, then has license in interpretation of the Bible proved to be the cause of intellectual chaos and disunity in Protestantism. The extreme individualism of Protestantism in Bible judgment leads doctrinally and organizationally away from the teachings of Christ. After a thorough survey of the varying beliefs of ministers, Prof. George Herbert Betts (Methodist) said that "No (Protestant) denomination, except perhaps the Lutherans, has any right to demand that fixed creeds be taught to their young. For the clergy of an denomination themselves do not subscribe to a common creed beyond belief in the existence of God." ("The Belief of 700 Ministers," Abingdon Press, N. Y. – Chicago, 1929). His book evidence that only 87 per cent of ministers believe in the omnipotence of God; only 68 per cent that God performed miracles; only 55 per cent in the inspiration of the Bible, the Protestant rule of faith; only 47 per cent in the story of creation as recorded in Genesis; only 56 per cent in the revelations recorded in the Old Testament; only 58 per cent that Jesus is equal to the father; only 70 per cent that Jesus died for the remission of sin; only 84 per cent in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, without which St. Paul said "our faith is in vain"; only 57 per cent in heaven and 53 per cent in hell as places of eternal happiness and suffering; and only 44 per cent that baptism is essential to becoming a Christian, without which Christ said man cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
Contrast the conditions in the Catholic Church, whose children are assumed to be of lower intellectual caliber than Bible Christians in matters related to Holy Writ. Therein you find the principle of "bringing the mind into captivity to the obedience of Christ" in His Church, a principle to which every saint in the calendar of Christ’s holy and learned saints held fast. The result is plainly evident to every unbiased investigator. There she stands! One in doctrine; one in worship; one in discipline; and one in obedience to authority – a oneness that is the primary characteristic of a Church that rightly calls itself the Church of Jesus Christ.
CATHOLICS MENTAL SLAVES
"What’s the use of talking to Catholics about religion? They are mental slaves. As soon as you corner them, they fall back upon their church for knowledge of the Bible. Why don’t they be Americans, free men in religion, by doing their own thinking?"
That charge is as unsound as would be a charge that you are un-American because you fall back, as I assume you do, upon authority when discussing civil and criminal laws. Test yourself by asking yourself – "Why do I fall back upon the courts and other legal authorities for my understanding of American statues, decisions and traditions effecting civil and criminal law? I can read and write, why then should I be a mental slave and submit to the judgment of authorities instead of following my own judgment?"
Your answer will no doubt be, "I don’t do that." And why? I’ll answer for you. "Because I am sensible; because I am a loyal and law-abiding American; because I know that obedience to the law as interpreted by legitimate authority is the beginning of civic wisdom; because I know that men in jails are not free men."
RIGHT TO BELIEVE ANYTHING
"Well, I have a right to believe whatever I want to believe. That is one of the reasons why I am not a Catholic. I do not need the priests to do my thinking."
Such freedom as you boast of is not rational. You have no moral right to believe whatever you want to believe. You have only the right to believe what is right, what you know to be true, pure, charitable and just. You have no right whatsoever to hold as true what you know to be wrong. Of course, you have the power to do s, for you have free will. You can hold that the moon is made of green cheese; that two plus two is five; that there is no God; that the commandments have no binding force with you; that you may interpret the Bible according to your individual concept without any regard for any authoritative, traditional interpretation, but you have no legitimate right to do so. If ever you enter the Catholic Church, the priest will not try to do your thinking, but he will help you to think straight about things of a religious and moral nature.
To get back, dear Sir, to your charge. Catholics do their own thinking to the degree that is properly within the bounds of right reason. If that were not so the St. Augustines, John Henry Newmans, Brownsons, Chestertons, Arnold Lunns and Sigrid Undsets would never have entered the Catholic Church in their mature years. Catholics think straight, and the priests, who are highly educated Christian gentlemen, help them to do so. Therefore no need exists for singing to them the ditty that should be sung to the juvenile-minded men and women outside the Catholic Church, who, disregarding priestly guidance, set up their own individual judgments on questions of biblical interpretation:
they blow east, shall they blow west
Shall they blow under the cuckoo’s nest?"
Catholics know that right thinking and right reasoning is only possible within the law of the subjects they deal with, as defined, in the last analysis, by those who speak with divinely guaranteed authority.
Catholics know that Bible knowledge is profound knowledge, which the average educated person is only acquainted with in part. They realize that Bible principles are universal principles of the profoundest nature, applicable to all people of all ages, which, in many instances, cannot be properly understood without a knowledge of the customs, language and idioms peculiar to oriental peoples who lived from twenty to more than forty centuries ago with which few persons are acquainted. They realize that the Bible contains mysteries of the highest spiritual order, that may be unraveled only by the aid of mental illumination that God alone can give man. Therefore, instead of falling into mental anarchy, that results from the un-Christian assumption that individual interpretation of God’s written word is preferable to Divine instituted authoritative interpretation, Catholics prefer to stand with the humble, learned Bishop of hippo, who said, fifteen centuries ago – "I would not believe the Bible, were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church."
ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
"Don’t you think the abomination of desolation we read of in the Bible is being witnessed in our 1940 World War?"
While the present war is an abomination, it is not any one of the few abominations referred to in the Bible. That phrase came from Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11, who spoke three times of the "abomination of desolation" that "shall continue even to the consummation and the end," "when the continual sacrifice (of the Jews) shall be taken away," as it was "taken away" in the time (483 years) Daniel set for the "end."
An Abomination of desolation foretold, noted in I Maccabees 1:57, took place in the profanation of the Temple under Antiochus Ephiphanes.
When our Savior referred to the prophecy of Daniel, He set it forth as a warning of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, which took place in the year 70 A.D. when, as Daniel predicted, the city and the sanctuary were destroyed.
When the particular abomination of desolation will occur, that is to precede the end of the world, we do not know. Nearly all the positive declarations of the exact date have come from freaks, frauds, and conceited interpreters of the Bible, in spite of the definite statement contained in the Bible that no man could know the date.
THE HERD OF SWINE
"Talking about the Bible, do you think it right, as Matthew 8 tells us, for Christ to drive the devils into a legion of swine, who were drowned? What would you say if I destroyed a stock of swine?"
If you did it, I would say you deserved punishment, as you had no right to destroy another man’s property. But your right, and the swine owner’s right to property, was secondary to Christ’s right to do it.
Christ being God, being Lord of the world, having dominion over all things, all property is subject to His will. Creatures such as you and I have no right to question God, who is the source of rights.
If the swine belonged to the Jews, which is likely, they deserved punishment for violating the Mosaic Law, then in force, of which they were no doubt conscious, as are Jews today. There is a story abroad that a demonstration of consciousness of wrongdoing that took place recently on Boston Common. A Jew, seated on a bench, was eating a ham sandwich. A sudden thunderstorm broke out. Lightning struck a nearby tree, a large branch crashed down at his feet. Conscience-stricken, the Jew looked up excitedly, with part of the sandwich still in his hand, and irritatingly cried out, "What a lot of fuss about a little bacon."
If the swine belonged to Gentiles, they may have offended God’s law by raising the then forbidden meats in the land of the Jews.
A greater good was done by driving the swine out of the demoniac, and permitting them to enter the swine, then the death of the swine as a result of their rushing headlong into the sea.
"What became of devils that went into the swine?"
My guess, if you want that, is that they became deviled ham.
"TO MEN OF GOOD WILL"
"Which is correct? The Protestant ‘peace on earth, good will toward men’? Or the Catholic ‘on earth peace to men of good will?"
This much discussed difference seems to center on a single letter, s. The Greek word "eukodias" means "of good will," whereas "eukodia" means "good will." The difference between the Protestant and Catholic translations is not so great as may appear at first glance, for the phrase "men of good will" may mean, as "The Register" of Denver, Colorado said, "either a subjective disposition in men, or it may indicate that men have been the recipients or objects of God’s good will."
The King James version, newly edited by the Revision Committee, reads – "And on earth peace among men in whom He is well pleased:" The Century New Testament reads – "–in whom He finds pleasure"; Goodspeeds translation reads, "Peace to men He favors."
The Sinaitic Alexandrian, Vatican, Bezan, Latin, and some other ancient manuscripts of the New Testament extant uphold the reading eukodias, "of good will." Therefore, the tendency is more and more favorable to the Catholic translation:
to God in the highest
On earth peace to men of good will."
"The Commandment in the Bible says ‘Keep the Sabbath Holy.’ Who changed it from Saturday to Sunday? And by what right?"
Considerable confusion exists in the minds of a multitude of persons regarding the change of the sabbath-day. It is often due to failure to realize that when God said: REMEMBER THE SABBATH-DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY" (Ex. 20), He did not say keep Saturday holy. Sabbath, Shabbath in Hebrew, means rest, while Yom ha-Shabbath means day of rest, and not Saturday, hence Sabbath is not a specific day be it the seventh or the first.
In both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, God says: "SIX DAYS SHALL THOU LABOR, and DO ALL THY WORK: BUT THE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD." The phraseology does not fix the six days that shall be days of labor, and the definite article (THE seventh day) merely implies that any day following six successive days that the Jews select as their 6th day was satisfactory to God.
The Jewish days were numbered, the only one named as well as numbered was sabbath-day. The names Sun-day, Moon-day – and Saturn-day (Saturday), unknown for a thousand years after the Jews began to keep the Sabbath holy, were of Egyptian astrologic origin, which rose from the practice of naming each day by the planet that was supposed to rule the first hour of the 24 hour day. There is no universal cosmic 7th day, hence the selection of a 7th day, a sabbath day, is an arbitrary act on the part of man. Some Greeks selected Monday, Persians Tuesday, Assyrians Wednesday, Egyptians Thursday, Moslems Friday, Jews Friday at sunset to Saturday sunset, and Christians Sunday, though only the Jews and Christians had Divine sanction for their selection.
That the term sabbath does not relate exclusively to the 7th day of a week, Saturday, is evident in the Pentateuch, in which many other sabbaths are joined besides the one that was selected by the Jews to follow after six days of labor. There is the Sabbatical Year, the 7th year, which ordains the restitution of property pledged or money borrowed (Deut. 15:2); also a Sabbatical year when the land is allowed to lie fallow, instead of being cultivated, so that it may have a year of rest (Lev. 25:1-25). There is a Jubilee Year, the crowning sabbatical year (every 50 years) that follows seven sabbatical years, when inordinate accumulations of land revert back to the original owners. Then there are the Shabbath Shubah, the Penitential Sabbath, that occurs between the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement; the Shabbath Hagodol, "the Great Sabbath," which is celebrated before the Passover; the Shabbath Nachamus, "the Sabbath day of Comfort," that the Jews celebrate (though not enjoined to do so in the Old Testament), which takes place immediately after the Ninth of Ab, in commemoration of the destruction of the first and second temples and the fall of Bettir, which ended the rebellion of Bar Kokba, who claimed to be the Messiah.
To properly understand the question of the sabbath day one must realize, first of all, that Sunday is no less a 7th day, in the religious sense, than is Saturday, though the calendar we use, which originated many centuries after the Jews selected their 7th day, lists it as the first day of the week. Any day that follows six days of work may be observed as a sabbath, a rest day, though the particular 7th day of the Jews had to be selected by Jewish religious authority, as Christian religious authority was necessary to supercede it with another 7th day, the Lord’s Day. The seventh day of rest is not of Sinaitic origin. Ages before there were any Jews; before there as such a thing as a calendar; "God blessed the seventh day," His rest day (Gen. 2:3). The Hebrews worshiped the One True God on a sabbath day from the days of Abraham until Moses brought them the Commandments on tablets of stone, a period of four hundred years, without having a prescribed sabbath day. This is suggested in the first word of the third commandment, "Remember to keep holy the sabbath day." This word, "Remember," is recognized by the Jews as signifying a pre-Jewish sabbath day. The Jewish Encyclopedia, giving Rashi, Maimonides and the Talmud as its authorities, says: "Tradition assumes that the sabbath law had been proclaimed at Morah, before the Sinaitic revelation" (Vol. X. p. 591).
Secondly, the Commandment, "Remember, to keep the sabbath day holy," was not changed or abrogated, and never rightly can be, for it is one of God’s eternal, and therefore unchangeable commandments. What Christians did was to change the reckoning of the seventh day; to select a day to supercede the particular CEREMONIAL 7th day of the Jews, which was an exclusively Jewish sabbath day; "a sign between Me (God) and you (Moses) throughout your generations" (Ex. 31:13).
The Jews had a Divine authoritative right to interpret God’s Commandments and to designate the time and character of their ceremonies called for in the Pentateuch, when they were not specifically outlined therein. In a word, they spoke with authority, but that was in the days when they had an Aaronic priesthood, a sacrifice, a temple, and a Sanhedrin (high court); those were the days when the Messiah was to come and thus to fulfill their Divine mission. That day came, when Jesus the Messiah was born; when He instituted a Church to take the place of the Synagogue; when He instituted a new priesthood and a new sacrifice such as were foretold in the Old Testament. It was then, after the Church began to function in the Cenacle, that the ceremonial law of the Jews, including their 7th day, ceased to be binding, the final authoritative end to Jewish ceremonials being proclaimed in the Council of Jerusalem. The end of the Jewish Sabbath was foretold by Osee, the prophet of the Kingdom of Israel, who said: "And I (God) will cause all her (Israel’s) mirth to ceased, her solemnities, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her festival times" (Chap. 2:2). That is why Justin Martyr could say, in the second century, that the Jewish Sabbath "was not in force before Moses, so it is no longer needed after the coming of Christ" (Dialogue cum Tryph. 23).
With the end of the mission of Judaism came a change, not in the Commandment, "Remember, to keep the sabbath-day holy," but in the ceremonial day, by the selection of Sunday to supercede the Saturday sabbath of the Jews, which was selected by the Jews for the Jews only. What the sabbath was to the Jews, while they were "a kingdom of priests, a holy nation" (Ex. 19:6), the sabbath of the New Dispensation is to the Christians, since they became the "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation" (I Peter 2:9).
The Christian sabbath superceded the Jewish sabbath; it was not a continuation thereof. While both sabbaths paid honor to the same God, they were prompted by different motives. The Jewish sabbath was in remembrance of God having rested on the 7th day after His completion of the material universe; also in memory of the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage. The Christian sabbath was instituted in remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah, from the dead, the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, which marked the beginning of Christ’s Kingdom on earth, His Church. Also as a memorial of man’s freedom from the bondage of original sin, through the reparation made by Christ for the sin of Adam.
The naturalism of the Jewish Sabbath in contrast to the supernaturalism of the Lord’s Day of Christians is seen in the celebrations that usher them in. The Jewish Sabbath is proclaimed with the Kiddush (sanctification). Wine and bread are blessed, one the symbol of joy, the other the symbol of plenty. After sipping the wine, the head of the house passes the wine to the participants of the meal that follows. The Lord’s Day is celebrated in the Catholic Church, "from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof," as it was celebrated by the Apostles and the Christians in the catacombs, by the "Breaking of Bread," later called the Mass. Therein bread and wine, instead of being used as mere symbols of joy and plenty, are transubstantiated, changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is offered to God as a sacrifice, and partaken of by the laity as the Sacrament of Christ’s love. The Kiddush is a sabbatical service for the spiritual man, to further his temporal existence; the Mass is a sacrificial service primarily to gain for man the eternal life promised by Christ to those who partake of His Body and Blood.
First and foremost among Protestants who oppose Sunday as the Christian Sabbath are the Seventh Day Adventists. This vehement group resorts to insulting and prejudicial language in its propaganda among Protestants for the Saturday Sabbath. It shouts from its pulpits, and circulates through its press, the declaration that "the Pope, who bears the mark of the beast in Revelation, changed the Sabbath;" "it was the Council of Laddicea... that transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday;" that it came into vogue through Constantine. Protestants as well as "Romanists" are warned that by keeping Sunday they have the "mark of the beast" upon them, and are therefore lost. An intense anti-Romanist, Rev. L. D. Bass, D.D., Baptist minister of Milmarnock, Va., though equally an intense anti-Seventh Day Adventist, said: "they know that to brand a thing Roman Catholic in origin is to make it stink in the nostrils of many earnest seekers after truth" (p. 14. "Seventh Day Adventism Unmasked").
The Bible and the Bible only being the Protestant rule of faith, the Seventh Day Adventists challenge their fellow-Protestants to prove from the Bible that Christ, or the action of the Apostles, any change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. They know that the term Sunday is no more to be found in the Bible than is the term Saturday; not to speak of trinity, incarnation, purgatory, and some other terms that are traditionally Christian.
While the New Testament does not contain the word Sunday, it has in it the equivalent, "The Lord’s Day." While there is no positive announcement of a change of sabbath-day therein, it does not lack evidence that the Christians assembled on the first day of the week for their religious solemnities.
Acts 20:7 tells of the disciples coming together to break bread, their most solemn ceremony on the first day of the week.
I Cor. 16:1-2 tells specifically of the collection of alms on the first day of the week.
John 20:1, 14 and Luke 24:15 tell of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalen and Peter on the first day of the week.
John 20:19-23 tells of the first day of the week, when Jesus appeared to the ten, Thomas being absent.
John 20:26-29 tells of Jesus appearing again on the first day of the week, when Thomas was present.
Acts 2:4 tells of the first day of the week, Pentecost day, when by the power of the Holy Ghost, Who descended upon the Apostles, 3,000 Jews were brought to the Messiah and His Church.
An Adventist misquotation declares that the Council of Laodicia (A.D. 381) "transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday," whereas it merely decreed that Christians must refrain from work as much as possible on The Lord’s Day. And as for Emperor Constantine, he merely recognized the custom of celebrating the Lord’s Day, by decreeing abstention from labor on "the venerable day of the Sun."
All through the Christian years, before the days of Constantine, back to Apostolic times, the utterances of famous men, not all Christians, show that Sunday had superceded Saturday as the Sabbath day.
In 300 A.D., the Council of Elvira decreed "if anyone in the city neglects to come to Church three Sundays, let him be excommunicated for a short time so that he may be converted."
In 300 A.D., St. Peter of Alexandria said: "We keep the Lord’s Day as a day of joy."
In 253 A.D., St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, mentioned the celebration of the "Lord’s Day" in a synodal letter, which is at once "the eight and the first day."
In 200 A.D., Tertullian of Carthage wrote "Sunday we give to joy. We observe the day of the Lord’s resurrection, free from every hindrance of anxiety and duty, laying aside all our worldly business."
In 170 A.D., St. Melito, Bishop of Sardis, wrote a treatise respecting observance of the Lord’s Day.
In 140 A.D., Justin, Martyr said, "on the day called Sunday all Christians come together in one place..."
In 112 A.D., Pliny the Younger, governor of Pontus and Bithynia, informed Emperor Tajan, of the Christians who are "accustomed to meet together on a stated day (known to be Sunday), before it was light, and to sing hymns to Christ as to a God, and to bind themselves by a sacramentum...."
In 110 A.D., St. Ignatius of Antioch, a contemporary of St. John, spoke of Christians as "not sabbathizing, but living in the spirit of the Lord’s Day."
In the Didache (XV), Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, written between the years 65-80 A.D., we read, "On the Lord’s Day come together and break bread. And give thanks (offering The Eucharist), after confessing your sins that your sacrifice may be pure."
The Apostles, to whom our Lord Jesus Christ gave the power to "bind" and to "loose," met on the "first day of the week," the "Lord’s Day," to fulfill the requirements of the third Commandment. They, who were the teaching body of the universal Church Christ established, the Catholic Church, exercised their infallible power of changing the seventh day sabbatical reckoning.
Sunday observances supplemented rather than supplanted Saturday observance of the Sabbath during the first days of the Church. This was due to nearly all the Christians being converts from Judaism. Their inherited high regard for the ceremonies of the Old Law, caused them to go so far as to hold, for a time, that the Gentile converts should be circumcised, insisting that they had to become Jews before they could become Christians. It was the Council of Jerusalem (A.D. 50), followed by the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., which ended the priestly sacrificial services of the Jews, that caused the line of demarcation between the Jewish and Christian 7th day Sabbath, which was blurred for a time, to be so clearly defined, and universally accepted, that it has hardly been questioned during the Christian ages. Therefore every full-fledged Chrsitian will sing today:
the days that’s in the week,
I dearly love but one day,
And that’s the day that comes betwixt
A Saturday and Monday."
While Christians are obligated to keep the Lord’s Day, as the Jews were obligated to keep the Saturday Sabbath, a study of the International Date Line shows that the specific 7th day selected by the Jews or the Christians must naturally be of secondary import to what the Commandment definitely calls for, the giving of one day in seven to God. The date line, which corresponds to the meridian 180E from Greenwich, is the place where each day of the calendar begins. When it is Sunday from the date line westward to the midnight date line, it is Saturday from the date line eastward to the midnight line. Therefore, when the ship crosses the line westward on Saturday, the day moves forward from Saturday to Sunday. But when the ship crosses eastward that same Sunday becomes Saturday. Hence a Seventh Day Adventist crossing the date line is left with two Saturdays or forced to live through two Lord’s Days in a week, according to the direction in which he sails or flies.
This lengthy answer to the Sabbath question continually propounded may conclude by noting that there is a text in the Bible that the anti-Romanist Sabbatarians dodge, it is Colossians 2:16. In it St. Paul warned the Colossians, as he warns us today, to beware of the impostures who would withdraw from Christ through a return to Jewish observances:
"Let no man judge you in meat and drink, or in respect of a festival day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbaths."
"Why does not the Catholic Bible contain the doxology at the end of our Lord’s Prayer, as does the Protestant Bible? It is offering praise to God – ‘for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.’"
because they are not words that were uttered by our Lord. That doxology is made up of laudable sentiments that were expressed centuries before our Lord appeared on earth. They are found in 1 Paralipomenon 29:11-12 (called1 Chronicles in the Protestant Bible):
"Thine, O Lord, is magnificence and power, and glory, and victory: and to Thee is praise: for all that is in heaven, and in earth, is Thine: Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art above all princes.
"Thine are riches, and Thine is glory...."
It was the practice of the fathers in the early days of the Church to end their sermons and prayers with a doxology, words of praise to God, to the Blessed Trinity, to our Lord. St. John Chrysostom always did so. Such words of praise are found in St. Paul’s Epistles. But the doxology used by Protestants is not a part of our Lord’s prayer, hence the non-appearance of it in the Catholic Bible is not an omission of any part of the prayer our Lord taught His disciples.
Some devout Monk is believed to have interpolated those words, which were part of the Greek liturgy, on the margin of the text he was copying. This took place more than a thousand years before there was a Protestant Bible. St. Jerome, who translated the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek texts into the Latin Vulgate, rejected it in the fourth century as unauthentic.
An examination of non-Catholic translations of the New Testament shows that the doxology Protestants use is not in Wickliff’s Bible (1379), Tyndale’s Testament (1526), or Thorp’s edition of the Anglo-Saxon Gospels. It is in Coverdale’s Bible and was popularized in the Protestant world through the "Authorized Version," which was forced upon the people of England by King James I in 1611. And even in this King James Bible it appears in Matthew 6:13 and not in Luke 11:4. The Protestant Revised Version of the Bible (1881) omits it entirely, for the best informed Protestant biblical scholars realize that the doxology is not a part of the Lord’s Prayer.
"Please explain the Lord’s Prayer? There are some parts that are puzzling to me."
The Lord’s Prayer is so called because it came from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in response to the request of His disciples,
"Lord, teach us to pray" (St. Luke 11:1).
The Lord’s Prayer embodies all that is essential to man, all that will satisfy a praying heart. It combines and expresses in Divine order, every Divine promise, every sorrow that is in the human heart, every want that man desires and needs, every holy aspiration for the good of one’s fellowman. It is said to even embody the Trinity. The first petition and some other parts referring to God as the Creator and Preserver; God the Redeemer being in the second part; whereas God the Holy Spirit is the third division. In a word, it is the most powerful, simple and comprehensive Christian prayer. It is composed of a preface, three petitions that embody our duty to God, four petitions for the granting of our needs, and a conclusion.
"Our Father Who art in heaven"
This is an appeal to our Father, not my Father. Reason: To bring us to a realization that there is but one God, the Father of all who make up the human family, no matter what their race, color, nationality, or creed may be; that all of us are children of His one family, who, like brothers and sisters, should help, love and pray for one another. The second part of this preface detaches our minds and hearts from this world to our ultimate objective, the throne of God’s glory, heaven.
"Hallowed be Thy Name."
This is a recognition of the holiness of the name of God, an appeal for it to be hallowed by all the people of the earth. We cannot make God’s Name holier, because it is the name of the Divine Personage who is the embodiment and source of all holiness. But we can recognize God’s holiness and act accordingly. When President Lincoln called the battlefield of Gettysburg "hallow," he did not make it such, for it had already been hallowed by the blood the dead who died in battle that the Union of States be maintained. When we say "Hallowed be Thy Name," we give honor, praise, thanksgiving, glory, to God and, inferentially, resolve not to dishonor God’s name by perjury, cursing or blasphemy.
"Thy Kingdom Come"
This is an appeal for the triumph of the temporal kingdom of God in the battle against the "gates of hell," the evil forces against which the battle has raged since the days of Nero. It is a plea for the spiritual kingdom that is external in the Church, and internal, abiding in souls in varying degrees of perfection. It is also a plea for the merit that assures us an eternity of happiness in God’s heavenly kingdom.
"Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In heaven."
This is a call for faithfulness to Divine commands, that heavenly peace may abide in the world. It is a recognition of man as a free agent who can obey or disobey the will of God. It is an appeal for the strength of character that enables man, by the grace of God, to do the will of God.
"Grant," said St. Augustine, "that we many never seek to bend the straight to the crooked, that is Thy will to ours; but that we may bend the crooked to the straight, that is, our will to Thine."
"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"
This much misunderstood petition is not merely for the necessities that sustain the physical body (Food, clothing and shelter). God provides that in abundance, though the wickedness of man (the failure to practice the brotherhood of man in the Fatherhood of God) often checks its equitable distribution. The Fathers of the Church almost unanimously taught that by "daily bread," which St. Matthew calls the "supersubstantial bread" (6:11), is meant not so much material bread, needed to support the body, but the daily reception of the Eucharistic Bread that feeds the spiritual nature of man, the Bread that Christ referred to when He said,
"I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My Flesh, for the life of the world" (St. John 6:51-52). "For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him" (St. John 6:56-57).
It also refers to the Word of God, to instructions and sermons that nourish the mind and heart of man, for
"Not by bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God" (St. Matt, 4:4).
"Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us."
Herein we ask God to forgive us for our sins; to reconcile us with Him through true contrition, penance, making reparation, and a determination to try and sin no more. To persons who are vindictive, hateful, jealous, envious, dishonest, or unforgiving of others, this petition is self-condemnatory. Such persons virtually say – "God, pardon me, be merciful to me, forgive me my trespasses to the degree only that I pardon, am merciful, and forgive those who trespass against me."
"Lead Us Not Into Temptation"
This is a cry from the inner soul of man for God to safeguard us from submission to temptation. God does not tempt us, it is the devil, our passions, the world that tempts us, and then only to the degree that our strength of will can resist. St. Paul says so:
".... God will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13)
God permits the temptation as it tests our virtue, gives us an opportunity to merit, and thus to strengthen our moral being. "Lord, lead me not into temptation" is like David crying out – "O God, make haste to help me"( Ps. 70:12); like the Apostles crying out when about to sink – "Lord, save us, we perish" (St. Matt. 8:25). Going deliberately into places or with associates that are an occasion of sins; submission to temptation, and not being subject to temptation, is a sin. Everybody is tempted, even Christ our Lord was tempted. But Christ rebuked the tempter and his seductive temptations, with the result that the angels ministered unto Him. So will they minister unto us, if we be not led into temptation.
"But Deliver Us From Evil"
This means primarily to be delivered from the evil of sin which is the source and foundation of all other evils in the world. Sin, the violation of God’s law, is the greatest of all evils, it is the only evil that outrages God. Other evils, including those of a physical nature, are included in the seventh petition.
This is a Hebrew word, that literally means firm, true. It is used to signify: so be it, verily. It comes from the Hebrew word aman, to prop, to support. It is considered to be the most universal word, being used by Jews, Christians and Moslems as a confirmatory response. St. John uses it in the Apocalypse (3:14) as the name of Jesus: "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of God," that is Truth itself.
Three rules were followed by the Jews in pronouncing the word, Amen: It must be pronounced not too hastily, but with a grace and distinct voice. It must not be louder in tone than that used by him who blesses. It must be expressed with faith in God, with a certain persuasion that God will hear the prayer and grant the petition.
"I think the Bible would be a more interesting book if the fables were cut out of it. The story of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt is one of a hundred of them."
Evidently the world thinks the Bible quite interesting as it is, that is why it is, and has been for centuries, the world’s best seller, best in the best sense of the word. There are stories, some of them strange stories, of wickedness and virtue; religious allegories, and parables, but no fables in the Bible, – all of them of historic and moral value. Instead of the instance you cite being a fable, it is a serious and truthful story of punishment that resulted from disobedience. Lot’s wife "looked back (Gen. 19:26) after she was warned to "look not behind thee," to take herself away from Sodom which was being destroyed by brimstone and fire that was falling from the sky. The result was that she turned into a pillar of salt.
the story relates to us as well. "Remember Lot’s wife," was the warning of Christ of what may be expected from worldliness, sin, and the coming destruction of Jerusalem (St. Luke 17:31-32). It was referred to as a warning for man to take himself away, to detach himself from worldly possessions, and to beware not to turn back when the heavens gave signs of His coming for the second time, as Christ promised to come, and will come.
The possibility of God’s power to turn the body of Lot’s wife to salt cannot be reasonably questioned, anymore than we can question the natural fact that human bodies by chemical action have been known to be petrified.
"To what is the difference between the Roman Catholic and Protestant versions of the Ten Commandments attributed? Whatever the answer may be, don’t you think the Commandments are out of date?"
The Ten Commandments can not be amended or abrogated. They are ten God-expressed, eternal words. Therefore they will never be out of date, though the conditions to which they apply change from generation to generation. They are basic religious and moral obligations, the seed from which every virtue emanates. Every sin committed by man is either explicitly or implicitly embodied in them.
While the Commandments in the Decalogue came to man from Mt. Sinai in definitely expressed orderly written form, they did not originate there. They were written by God into the very nature of man, being in their hearts and consciences from the beginning of human creation.
While this covenant of God with man was given through Moses to the Jews, it was intended for all the people, of all the world, during all time. That is why, as the Jews say, they were given to man in the wilderness, which belongs to the whole world, instead of Palestine, the land of Israel.
The difference between the "Catholic and Protestant version of the Commandments" is only in their numerical divisions. The Protestant (Lutherans excepted) divide the first commandment into two, and unite the 9th and 10th Commandments into one. Thus the Catholic 2nd Commandment becomes the Protestant 3rd, and so on until the Catholic 8th becomes the Protestant 9th, and the Catholics 9th and 10th, united, becomes the Protestant 10th.
The object of this change was to emphasize the Protestant groundless charge that Catholics are image worshipers. The first Commandment, based upon the enumeration of the Hebrew text by St. Augustine in the 5th century, contains a positive and negative declaration which form one whole. It enjoins the worship of the one true God and Him alone, and therefore prohibits the making of images to be adored as idols. The Protestant "version" divides this first Commandment to read, in abbreviated form:
1st Commandment – Thou shalt have no other God before me.
2nd Commandment – Thou shalt not make to thee any graven image.
The Catholic 9th and 10th Commandments are united into the Protestant 10th my making "thou shalt not covet (Deuteronomy says desire) thy neighbor’s wife" equal to the sin of coveting thy neighbor’s goods. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not declare the unlawful desire for a man’s wife to be equal to the sin of coveting thy neighbor’s goods. Our Lord Jesus Christ declared the unlawful desire for a man’s wife, adultery, to be a distinct sin:
"... But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart" (St. Matt. V. 28).
If the species of the sin of covetousness is not determined by the object coveted; if there be no difference between coveting, desiring a man’s wife and stealing his goods, then the Protestant 7th Commandment – "Thou shalt not commit adultery" – and its 8th Commandment – "Thou shalt not steal" – ought to be united into one Commandment.
The modern Jews "follow the division in the Talmud," written between "the 3rd and 6th centuries" of the Christian era, says Valentine’s Jewish Encyclopedia (1938). The Jewish authorities generally named by Protestants are Philo and Josephus, Greek writers of the first century of the Christian era. Against them stands "The whole weight of Rabbinical tradition," says the Catholic Dictionary (Addis and Arnold’s p. 196) on the side of the Catholic enumeration: "It is the only one consistent with the Hebrew text, as usually found in MMS and printed editions. The text is divided into ten sections, which correspond precisely with our Catholic division. These sections are admitted to be very ancient, older even than the Masoretic text, and the Protestant scholar Kennicott found them to be marked in 470 out of 694 MMS which he collated." It is ignorance of the Ten Commandments, their profundity and immutability, that even suggests the thought that they are "out of date." They are eternal principles that may be outvoted and disobeyed, but they will never be obliterated.
we call old notions fudge
And bend our conscience to our dealing.
The Ten Commandments will not budge
And stealing will continue stealing."
It is amazing, yet true, that many persons called "up-to-date" have never learned them. No wonder, when a clergyman, hearing one of those extremely modern women rattle off some of the jungle music, called "Jazz," on a piano said, "My dear young lady, have you ever heard of the Ten Commandments?" replied – "whistle a few bars, and I think I can follow you."
"Your answer to my question is bright, but it is not in accord with modern youth. Did you read this morning’s announcement in the public press, of the poll of 1485 students in the New York University School of Commerce and Finance? Here is a copy showing a great majority of them have voted the Ten Commandments to be out of date."
That report is interesting insofar as it shows the evil effect of our secular non-God system of education. It shows that those hope-to-be Morgans lack an understanding of those ten principles that are as eternal as the ten numbers in the multiplication table, something millions of men know whose moral sense were not dulled by godless teachers. It reminds me of the story of a country pastor, who, seeing an old man by the wayside day after day breaking stones for the building of a new road, said, "Jim, that pile does not seem to get less." "You’re right, Father," came the response, "them stones is like the Ten Commandments. You can go on breakin’ ‘em, but you can’t get rid of ‘em."