Answers to Objections

This page is devoted to answering those objections and comments made against the Church that Christ founded, Our Holy Catholic Church!

[All Scripture verses are taken from my favorite Bible. By the grace of God, I picked it up from a secondhand store for $2.50. It's in great condition and I reach for it before I reach for any other. I also find the translation a great aid in study. It is The New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible: The Old Testament - Confraternity-Douay Version and The New Testament Confraternity Edition, 1957, Catholic Book Publishing Company.]

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Here are some other sites with interesting articles about Catholicism:

Cor Unum Apologetics Site EWTN
Jimmy Akin's Articles Catholic Exchange
Catholic Answers Defenders of the Catholic Faith
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism Catholic Culture

 

bullet-cross Calling Priests "father" counter to Matthew 23:9
bullet-cross The Catholic Church forbids its priests to marry, in opposition to the Bible teaching (1 Tim 4:1-3)
bullet-cross Only God can forgive Sins
bullet-cross Jesus is sacrificed again at every Mass
bullet-cross Worship of statues in violation of Exodus 20:4-5
bullet-cross Catholics baptize children before they can know what faith they are joining
bullet-cross Catholics believe in salvation by works although Romans 3:28 teaches otherwise
bullet-cross Catholics follow traditions of men, which is condemned in the Bible
bullet-cross You should be Bible-based in your beliefs, not Church-based
bullet-cross You should believe in the Bible alone, not in any man or church
bullet-cross Praying to Saints, Using Relics and Sacramentals
bullet-cross Repetitious prayers are condemned by Jesus
bullet-cross The Rosary is really bad because you combine a whole slew of anti-Biblical things: repetitious prayer, prayers to Mary, counting of beads, calling Mary Mother of God, plain superstition
bullet-cross There is only one mediator in Jesus, not Mary, nor the Saints - so you need only pray to Jesus
bullet-cross Jesus is the Rock, not Peter (or, Peter's statement is the Rock)

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Why do Catholics call Priests "father" when Matthew 23:9 clearly teaches otherwise?

Sometimes, I imagine how much easier my life would be if I was able to take any verse out of the Bible, and claim that it meant whatever it needed to mean at that point in my life to support the particular life-choice I was making at that time. It would be nice since it's often difficult to accept what a verse demands of me when that verse is correctly interpreted. For example, if I choose not to believe in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, I will say that the sixth chapter of John's Gospel is just figurative and deals with with the "spirit", not with Jesus' true Body and Blood. Also, if I choose to believe that faith alone without works assures me salvation, then all verses that remotely appear to negate a need to perform good works are literal, and could not mean anything other than faith alone. Whereas, I will take those verses which state specifically that our good and bad works will be judged as mere hyperbole.

Obviously, being a Catholic who follows the teachings of the Church, I do not feel this way about Sacred Scripture. But if I was a non-Catholic, or liberal Catholic who needed Scripture to back up the beliefs I choose to believe even before I read Scripture, then I am forced into this kind of rationalization.

But, what if the anti-Catholics are right? What if this verse really does prohibit anyone from calling their religious leaders "Father"? Let's assume, for a moment, that the anti-Catholic is right. We'll say for argument's sake that Jesus is saying that we cannot call anyone "father".

The following verse (Matthew 23:10) says that we should not call anyone Master. As everyone knows, Mister is a derivation of Master. So, should we not call anyone Mister? Also, could this be an injunction against calling our birth father by the title Father? But to get around this, the anti-Catholic will resort to the unScriptural statement that the verse in Matthew has to do with religious leaders and not birth fathers. However, that's not what the verse literally states. "And call no one on earth your father." It does not specify what role the person plays in your life, whether religious or parental. Yes, the previous verses are addressed specifically to the Scribes and the Pharisees in response to their conduct (notice that Jesus tells the disciples to do as they say and not as they do). But to claim that this verse can only apply to someone who is in a religious role undermines the grounds of Protestantism. Since Protestants believe that we are all equally capable of reading and interpreting Scripture on our own (in fact, their belief system demands this much - it requires a total abandonment of religious authority), then they are able to address NO ONE as Father, Mister, Master, or Teacher.

So what exactly has made Jesus so angry? Why does he rail at the Rabbis in this chapter? It is in the verses immediately preceding verse 9 (see what we're doing - taking it in context - hmm, what a concept!). The verses deal with the Pharisees and Scribes being called Rabbi. And we are told not to call anyone Rabbi, either. This is critical. What the Scribes and the Pharisees did was set themselves up as demigods. They put themselves at the center of attention, not God. They established laws and customs that blotted out the glory of God and focused it on themselves. So, what Jesus is saying is that we should not address anyone on earth as if we considered them on par with God, or in place of God. Only the honor due to God should go to God. Jesus says as much when he tells the young man that He Himself should not be called good, since only God is good. Would we want to take that verse out of context as well, and say that it is wrong to call Jesus good? Nonsense! Just as this claim against the Church's practice of calling Priests "father" is nonsense.

So, those who want to use this against Catholics have to decide how they want it. Is it literal? Can we understand what's being said on the surface of the text, or is there something else being said here?

Let me go on a tangent for a second. There is a verse in scripture, that, if you allow me the same interpretive (and infallible) powers as some non-Catholics take with Matthew 23:9, I will show you that only women who have borne children will make it to heaven. Read 1 Timothy 2:15 - "Yet women will be saved by childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness with modesty." So, with the same freedom as our separated brethren, I could claim that this verse denies heaven to all women who have not had children. Now, of course that is ludicrous. But this is the kind of thing that happens when you take texts out of context. Tim Staples said it best when he stated that "a text taken out of context is pretext." (Listen to one of Tim's Radio Shows by clicking here, then scrolling down to his name on the left.)

So, what about calling Priests father? Well, in many places, we see Paul referring to himself as the spiritual father of Timothy and others. Also, he refers to those he brought into the faith as his children. So, if we accept what the anti-Catholics say about calling Priests father, then Paul must suffer the same condemnation as Catholics at the hands of our friendly neighborhood (infallible) Catholic bashers. In the same way, we often hear the Apostles call Jesus Rabbi, and yet He never rebukes them for this. These are just two very good examples of the dangers of taking a verse out of context to try to force it to mean what you want it to mean, without first taking into account the whole of Scripture.

bullet-cross Catholic Answers' Tract on calling Priest's "Father"

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The Catholic Church forbids its priests to marry, in opposition to the Bible (1 Tim 4:1-3)

The Catholic Church has a "discipline" for the Latin-rite priests that requires that they take a vow of celibacy. They know going into this calling that this is one of the requirements. In the same way, I knew going into the Marine Corps that I would be required to cut my beautiful locks of hair. If a man doesn't think that he can try to fulfill this requirement, then he probably doesn't have a calling to the priesthood.

Jesus remained single to fulfill His mission and dedicate Himself to preaching. St. Paul also dedicated himself to his mission as well as asking men to remain chaste and single like him. "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion" (1 Cor 7:8-9).

bullet-cross Celibacy and the Priesthood
bullet-cross Dialogue on the Objection to Clerical Celibacy Dave Armstrong
bullet-cross The Office of New Testament Priest by James Akin

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Only God can forgive sins, not Priests!

If you have a problem with the Sacrament of Penance, then you must take it up with Jesus. He instituted it for our benefit and salvation (Mt 16:19; 18:18; Jn 20:23). Instead of being unbiblical, it is entirely Biblical as understood from a Christian perspective that has not been tarnished by the "traditions of men" as invented and promulgated by Protestantism - e.g. Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Once Saved, Always Saved, etc. Also, early in the Bible, we see God telling Moses to have the priests forgive sins in Leviticus 19:22 "And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed; and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him." Now, understand that the Lord wasn't saying that the Priest was the one forgiving the sins, but that the priest stood as God's representative for the forgiveness of sins. just as the Catholic Church teaches - the Priest is not the ultimate forgiver, but he is the proximate forgiver, in the person of Christ.

bullet-cross Penance and Indulgences Numerous links on Dave Armstrong's site - Biblical Evidence for Catholicism.
bullet-cross Confession Church Fathers
bullet-cross Sacrament of Penance in the Early Church by Father William Most

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Catholics sacrifice Jesus at every Mass in an unbloody manner which does not forgive sins.

The sacrifice of the altar is a re-presentation of the "once, for all" Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. It is His Blood and His Body which are made present at the words of consecration. Jesus gave the example and the Apostles followed His teaching on this. The Church Fathers are unanimous about what was done in the Upper Room and what has gone on for 2,000 years in the Catholic Church.

I'm always amazed at the ignorance of supposedly intelligent men and women who try to take this tack against the Mass. It shows an incredible amount of ignorance of "sacrifice" and "covenant" as understood by the Jews of Jesus's time. Spend just a little time reading about sacrifice and the Old Covenant and you'll see what I mean.

The Eucharist was first explained dramatically by Jesus John 6, and then demonstrated in the Upper Room. And St. Paul in 1 Cor 11:27-29 warns the believers from receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in an unworthy manner: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." Pretty darned clear to me!

bullet-cross The Mass
bullet-cross The Sacrifice of the Mass - taken from the Church Fathers
bullet-cross The Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass - numerous articles and transcripts explaining the Catholic belief in the Real Presence. Linked from Dave Armstrong's HUGE site - Biblical Evidence for Catholicism.

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Catholics worship statues in violation of Exodus 20:4-5.

Catholics DO NOT worship statues. The statues are merely prayer aids. I sometimes think that if Tim LeHaye suggested a statue of Jesus as a prayer aid (with a dozen follow-up versions like the Children's Prayer Aid, Working Mom's Prayer Aid ... anything that'll make an extra buck or two), then Protestants the world over would buy them and use them to help them grow in faith. As it is, since the Catholic Church does this to help her children, Protestants (except some Anglicans and Lutherans) look on the practice as evil - by their definition, of course.

Catholics use statues and images to help them focus on the persons which the statues and images represent. In the same way that someone has a picture of Auntie Em on the mantle to remind them of a loved one, Catholics have statues and images to remind them of a higher reality to which we all aspire.

bullet-cross Do Catholics pray to statues? A tract from Catholic Answers.

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Catholics baptize children before they can know what faith they are joining.

This statement assumes a warped sense of Baptism. It assumes that the Protestant, reductionist view of Baptism is the Biblical norm. In Catholic theology, Baptism can be applied to a person no matter their intelligence. The Protestant pre-requisite that you "accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior" before Baptism is not a Biblical norm. What of babies who die before Baptism? What of mentally handicapped persons? What of the theologically-challenged who really don't grasp the whole concept of God, Jesus and salvation? Who really knows fully what they are agreeing to at Baptism?

I had a well-meaning young man visit me a few years ago. He was from a local "non-denominational" Christian church. He and his side-kick were wandering the neighborhood looking for "lost souls" (read: Catholics who need to be saved since they're going to burn in hell if they don't leave the Whore of Babylon). Well, he told me that when he was 5 years old, he accepted Jesus and that nothing he does until he dies can keep him from heaven. I don't think he was ever baptized. Interesting.

bullet-cross Infant Baptism
bullet-cross Baptizing Babies - as understood by the first Christians
bullet-cross On Infant Baptism Church Fathers, ed. by Joe Gallegos

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Catholics believe in salvation by works against Romans 3:28.

Catholics do not believe in salvation by works. This is a lie that has been perpetuated since Luther's time. Stop saying it and read the links below to learn what the Church teaches about salvation and works.

bullet-cross Merit and Reward- from the perspective of the Church Fathers
bullet-cross Justification By Christ Alone by James Akin
bullet-cross Does John 3:16 Teach Eternal Security Through Faith Alone? by Steve Ray
bullet-cross Did Any Church Fathers Teach Sola Fide? by "Matt1618"
bullet-cross Merit: Catholic Doctrine vs. Caricature by Dave Armstrong

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Catholics believe in following tradition which is condemned in the Bible (Mt 15:3; Mk 7:9; Col 2:8)

Catholics DO NOT believe in following traditions that are condemned in the Bible. The Catholic Church teaches (as does St. Paul) that there are two aspects of the Word - the written Word, Sacred Scripture, and the spoken Word, Sacred Tradition. St. Paul admonished us to hold fast to the traditions that he and the other Apostles passed on from Jesus.

bullet-cross Tradition, Bible, or both?
bullet-cross Proving Inspiration
bullet-cross Apostolic Tradition - as understood by the first Christians after the Apostles
bullet-cross What's your authority for that?

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You should be Bible-based in your beliefs, not Church-based.

Now think about this for a moment. You're standing on a hilltop in Jerusalem during the life of Christ. You know that there are scrolls used in the synagogue for study and prayer. You know that the Holy books are the Pentateuch, the Prophets, the Histories, and the Psalms. But, since there has never been a definitive statement by a unified body of Jews, you do not know for sure what books belong to the entire body of Scripture. Also, you know for certain that there are no books in existence which speak about Jesus. You see, it was not until after Jesus died that anything was written about Him or His Church.

OK, so then you start to hear more and more about this Jesus. Then, one day, you find out He was crucified. Even at this time, you know that there are no scrolls written about this man. In fact, a good friend of yours followed Jesus around and was a good friend of one of the Apostles, and he told you that Jesus never once told any of His Apostles to write anything down. In fact, this Jesus repeatedly told his followers to "DO" things. That is, they were to preach, to heal, to soothe, to teach, to admonish, to save. He gave them many instructions while He was alive, but never to write.

Since the Apostles took off at a pretty good pace with their evangelization after Jesus ascended into heaven, you are pretty sure that none of them sat around just writing. Yet, they were up and about doing things. So, as a point of fact, this Church existed before the books which we have today that chronicle the Church's activities during the few decades after Jesus' death and resurrection. Therefore, the Bible (the collection of books written after Jesus' death, as well as the collection of books that were used in the Greek speaking portion of the Chosen people) was written after the Church began, so it is obvious that the Bible is Church-based and not the other way around. It's illogical to think that the Bible existed before the Church.

bullet-cross Was Peter in Rome?
bullet-cross The Church of the Apostles by K.D. Whitehead
bullet-cross Peter and The Papacy
bullet-cross The Four Marks of the Church Kenneth D. Whitehead

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You should believe in the Bible alone.

You should repent and be baptized and follow everything that Jesus commands. That's what you should do. This concept of "Bible Alone" or "Sola Scriptura" was an invention of the Protestant Revolutionaries in the 16th century. The logic of it is almost laughable. Step back a few years to the time of Christ. Where were the Gideons then? Start walking forward in time and think about the written word. Who could read, who had books? The printing press wasn't invented until some time in the 15th century. 15th! That's 1400 years after Christ. Before that, books were expensive and most people couldn't read anyway. Did all these people all burn in hell? No, they were protected by the teaching of the divinely-instituted authority of the Catholic Church.

bullet-cross Tradition, Bible, or Both?

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Should you use relics, saints or images in your prayer life?

Sure, why not? If it helps you pray and focus on God, that can't be bad. Keep in mind that there's a difference in Catholic teaching between relics and Saints. Relics are items that convey grace because of their current or former proximity to Saints. Remember Jesus's cloak and the bleeding woman? Remember St. Peter's handkerchief and shadow?

bullet-cross A Do Catholics Worship Statues? by Catholic Answers
bullet-cross Talks on the Sacramentals by Father Arthur Tonne
bullet-cross Relics - Catholic Encyclopedia article

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Repetitious prayers are condemned by Jesus

Read what Jesus did in the Garden before he was arrested - he said the SAME prayer three times to God. Read Matthew 26:44 "So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words." Either Jesus is breaking His own (supposed) rule, or the fundamentalists are teaching something contrary to Jesus and Scripture. We also see in revelation 4:8 "And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!'" I can't wait for Tim LeHaye to get to Heaven and order these creatures to stop their vain repetition.

Really, when you think about it, this attack is really an attack against the Rosary. No self-respecting fundamentalist anti-Catholic would admit they have never repeated a prayer. They do all the time. Any time they repeat "Amen!" or "Jesus" while their self-proclaimed pastor is rambling on stage, then they're repeating prayer.

bullet-cross The Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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The Rosary is really bad because you combine a whole slew of anti-Biblical things: repetitious prayer, prayers to Mary, counting of beads, calling Mary Mother of God, plain superstition

bullet-cross The Rosary
  The Rosary Dissected by T.L. Frazier

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There is only one mediator in Jesus, not Mary, nor the Saints

Actually, we are all mediators of one kind or another.  You are a mediator if you walk up to me and say, "Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?" (Although this is a nice sentiment, these words are not necessary to utter for salvation.  When Jesus was asked directly what must be done for salvation, what did He say?  When Peter was asked on Pentecost how to gain what he preached, what does Peter tell the crowd? In neither of these cases does Jesus or Peter mention anything remotely similar to an altar call.   Besides, when was the last time you were in a fundamentalist church and actually saw an altar??) 

If you ask me to pray for your sick child, then I am being a mediator for you.  If your pastor stands before you on stage and tells you that he will conclude your worship service with a blessing, then he is mediating for all of you in your chairs.  (Continued later....)

bullet-cross Praying to Saints

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Jesus is the Rock, not Peter

Jesus is the cornerstone, but He has chosen to pass on this role on earth to men who will remain in place of Jesus until He comes again. Jesus decided to do this. It's Biblical and it's reasonable. All of the arguments against Peter being the Rock on which Jesus will build His Church stem from a preconceived notion that Peter is not the Rock. They do not come from serious exegesis of Scripture. It is the case of a person hearing their pastor say a certain thing is so, and then look in Scripture for anything that'll prove his position.

bullet-cross Who is the Rock?
bullet-cross Peter the Rock - from the writings of the Church Fathers

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