In Part I of An Open Response, I dealt with the introductory paragraph to a blog post that asked the question Are Catholics Really Christian?
There are complete inaccuracies within next three paragraphs (in italics below) from the blog post that asks the question Are Catholics Really Christian?
Their collective purposes are… 1) to define the Jewish religious authorities (Sadducees and Pharisees) as wicked and evil men, and to prove it by presenting a quote by Jesus, 2) to demonstrate that the actions and attitudes of the Apostles serve as a model for modern Christians. But unfortunately that model is not followed by Catholic Clergy, and therefore 3) because Catholic leaders imitate the wicked and evil practices of the Sadducees and Pharisees and not the Apostles, the Catholic Church has created false doctrines and has committed acts of barbaric bloodshed. 4) Jesus and the Apostles threw off the shackles of religious authority.
When Christ was on earth, He made it clear that the Sadducee’s and Pharisee’s weren’t on his most respected list of people in the world. He called them out on numerous occasions for their selfishness and desire to be worshipped in the high places, even went as far as to call them a “Brood of Vipers”. Jesus found himself constantly being tried by the Sadducee’s and Pharisee’s, even to the point of death. But he knew their evil hearts, their evil desires.
After Jesus ascended into the heavens, the Apostles went out and won souls for Christ. They healed countless ailments and did many signs and wonders, but never desired to be worshipped or to be given the best of anything. They learned from Jesus’s example—they were nothing without the Father. The Apostles went as far as to stop people from trying to bow to them. They gave all the glory to Christ, and rightly so.
Were all Sadducees and Pharisees evil men?
Certainly not, Gamaliel and Nicodemus were Pharisees, and are presented favorably in Acts 5:34 and John 7:50 respectively.
Actually, Jesus was chiding some of them for their misunderstanding and implementation of the laws of Moses. In other words they were following the law with their minds rather than their hearts.
Matthew 23:1-3 are quite clear on this matter.
Then Jesus told the crowds and his disciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teachers; therefore, do everything and observe everything they tell you. But do not follow their example.”
If they were so wicked and evil, why would Jesus tell the people to obey their teachings?
Because they validly “…succeeded Moses as teachers.” Which also means religious authority may be passed on again to others. Some of them may not have personally behaved as model religious figures, but they taught truthfully.
Also, they weren’t admonished for having special seats at banquets and/or other public events, they were corrected for being fond of the treatment. I’m guessing this is what Mr. Brown means when he says “…desire to be worshipped.” I sincerely doubt he means “worshipped” in its strict definition.
Matt 16:13-20 are perfectly clear that Jesus established a church and appointed the Apostles as the first bishops to guard over it in his absence. Naturally that church was The Catholic Church with Peter as the first Pope and the Apostles as Bishops. An unbroken line of ordination from Jesus until today.
There are numerous scriptural passages (even prophetic ones from the Old Testament) that discuss the creation of a new church, but for brevity’s sake we’ll just leave it to Matthew.
The next paragraph of Mr. Brown’s post is so fraught with errors that I’m going to place points A, B, and C, within the paragraph below and handle them in order.
Switching over the Catholicism, a religion where Saints are basically worshipped and Mother Mary is quite possibly considered higher than Christ (A), I can’t help but compare them to the Sadducee’s and Pharisee’s—(B) two groups that Jesus blatantly called out (B) every time they came after him. I believe Jesus was very clear in his mission here on earth. (B) He didn’t come to take anything, but to give to the sick, those in need of a physician. The events which occurred from 1095-1291(The Crusades) are really mind blowing, considering the fact that Christ wanted to help His people, not murder them for not following after him. The Freewill of mankind, to accept God or not, was nowhere in the Crusades;(C) if you didn’t convert to Christianity, or at least the Catholic version of it, you were killed. (C)
*Points labeled either (B) or (C) will be handled within the next post.
The Blessed Virgin Mary and Saints are not worshipped.
Anyone who says otherwise is either simply ignorant, or knowingly and willingly lying. Mary and the Saints are venerated and mentioned in forms of intercessory prayer. That is, asking another to pray for you. Prayers requesting the intercession of Mary and the Saints are a common practice among Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholics, and some Anglicans.
I find it odd that most Evangelicals who make this false argument, claim not to be bashing Catholics, but only single them out.
“…Mary is quite possibly considered higher than Christ.”
Paragraph 6 Section 970 from The Catechism of The Catholic Church defines the church’s official teaching on Marian veneration and devotion. It states clearly that…
“Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ…No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer…”
(971) “…This very special devotion…differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the Incarnate Word and equally to the Father and Holy Spirit…”
An examination of the Hail Mary clearly demonstrates that it is indeed a prayer of intercession and not worship.
Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee (Luke 1:28 Have a problem with the Gospel?)
Blessed art thou amongst women
And Blessed is the fruit of Thy womb (Luke 1:42 same as above)
Jesus (Does anyone have a problem with the name of the Lord?)
Holy Mary (Catholics and Orthodox shouldn’t call her holy because she’s evil? Nonsense!)
Mother of God (Mary is referred to as the Mother of Jesus many times. And let’s not forget whole Biblical passages dedicated to the Nativity)*
PRAY FOR US sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen. (Sounds like a textbook case of intercession rather than worship)
*Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Catholics refer to Mary as the Theotokos (God bearer).
And let’s not forget Luke 1:48 “Henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”
You’ll see the same type of language used in a Litany
Notice the different type of responses for Mary and Saints as opposed to the mention of any person of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I’ll use parts the Litany of the Saints because both elements are used. A Person (P) leads and others respond (R).
(P) O God the Father of Heaven……………(R) Have mercy on us
(P) O God the Son Redeemer of the world…(R) Have mercy on us
(P) O God the Holy Spirit…………………..(R) Have mercy on us
(P) Holy Trinity One God…………………..(R) Have mercy on us
Holy Mary………………………………………Pray for us
All ye Holy Angels and Archangels…..Pray for us
Saint Peter……………………………………..Pray for us
Saint Jerome…………………………………..Pray for us
One can readily see and understand the difference between a prayer of intercession and one of worship.
I hope this small bit of apologetics helps to explain away the false accusations leveled at Catholics and Orthodox for Marian devotion.