Category Archives: Protestantism

The Originals and Their Disappearance

I. Now, you may naturally enough ask me: “But how do you know all this? Where has the Bible come from? Have you got the original writings that came from the hand of Moses, or Paul, or John?” No, none of it, not a scrap or a letter, but we know from the Church’s Tradition that these were the books they wrote, and they have been handed down to us in a most wonderful way. What we have now is the printed Bible; but before the invention of printing in 1450, the Bible existed only in handwriting – what we call manuscript – and we have in our possession now copies of the Bible in manuscript (MS.) which were made as early as the 4th century, and these copies, which you can see with your own eyes at this day, contain the books which the Catholic Bible contains today, and that is another way we know we are right in receiving these books as Scripture, as genuinely the work of the Apostles and Evangelists. Why is it that we have not the originals written by St. John and St. Paul and the rest? Well, there are several reasons to account for the disappearance of the originals.

(1) The persecutors of the Church for the first 300 years of Christianity destroyed everything Christian that they could lay their hands on. Over and over again, barbarous pagans burst in upon Christian cities, and villages and churches, and burned all the sacred things they could find. And not only so, but they especially compelled Christians (as we saw before) to deliver up their sacred books, under pain of death, and then consigned them to the flames. Among these, doubtless, some of the writings that came from the hand of the Apostle and Evangelist perished.

(2) Again, we must remember, the material which inspired authors used for writing their Gospels and Epistles was very easily destroyed; it was perishable to a degree. It was called papyrus (I shall explain what it was made of in a moment), very frail and brittle, and not made to last to any great age; and its delicate quality, no doubt, accounts for the loss of some of the choicest treasures of ancient literature, as well as of the original handwriting of the New Testament writers. We know of no MS of the New Testament existing now which is written on papyrus.

(3) Furthermore, when in various churches throughout the first centuries copies were made of the inspired writings, there was not the same necessity for preserving the originals. The first Christians had no superstitious or idolatrous veneration for the Sacred Scriptures, such as seems to prevail among some people today; they did not consider it necessary for salvation that the very handwriting of St. Paul or St. Matthew should be preserved, inspired by God though these men were; they had the living, infallible Church to teach and guide them by the mouth of her Popes and Bishops and to teach them not only all that could be found in the Sacred Scriptures, but the true meaning of it as well; so that we need not be surprised that they were content with mere copies of the original works of the inspired writers.

As of the original works of the inspired writers. As soon as a more beautiful or correct copy was made, an earlier and rougher one was simply allowed to perish. There is nothing strange or unusual in all this; it is just what holds good in the secular world. We do not doubt the terms or provisions of the Magna Charta because we have not seen the original; a copy, if we are sure it is correct, is good enough for us.

II. Well, then, the originals, as they came from the hand of Apostle and Evangelist, have totally disappeared. This is what infidels and skeptics taunt us with and cast on our teeth: “You cannot produce,” they say, “the handwriting of those from whom you derive your religion, neither the Founder nor His Apostles; your Gospels and Epistles are a fraud; they were not written by these men at all, but are the invention of a later age; and consequently we cannot depend upon the contents of them or believe what they tell us about Jesus Christ.” Now, of course, these attacks fall harmlessly upon us Catholics, because we do not profess to rest our religion upon the Bible alone, and are independent of it, and would be just as we are and what we are though there were no Bible at all. It is those who have staked their very existence upon that Book, and must stand or fall with it, that are called upon to defend themselves against the critics. But I shall only remark here that the argument of infidel and skeptics would, if logically applied, discredit not only the Bible, but many other books which they themselves accept and believe without hesitation. There is far more evidence for the Bible than there is for certain books of classical antiquity which no one dreams of disputing. There are, for example, only 15 manuscripts of the works of Herodotus, and none earlier than the 10th century A.D.; yet he lived 400 years before Christ. The oldest manuscript of the works of Thucydides is of the 11th century A.D.; yet he flourished and wrote more than 400 years before Christ. Shall we say, then, “I want to see the handwriting of Thucydides and Herodotus, else I shall not believe these are their genuine works. You have no copy of their writings near the time they lived; none, indeed, till 1400 years after them; they must be a fraud and a forgery”? Scholars with no religion at all would say we were fit for an asylum if we took up the position; yet it would be a far more reasonable attitude than that which they take up toward the Bible. Why? Because there are known to have been many thousand copies of the New Testament in existence by the 3rd century – i.e., only a century or two after St. John – and we know for certain there are 3000 existing at the present day, ranging from the fourth century downward. The fact is, the wealth of evidence for the genuineness of the New Testament is simply stupendous; and in comparison with many ancient histories which are received without question on the authority of late and few and bad copies, the Sacred Volume is founded on a rock. But let us pass on; it is enough for us to know that God has willed that the handiwork of every inspired writer, from Moses down to St. John, should have perished from among men, and that He entrusted our salvation to something more stable and enduring than a dead book or an undecipherable manuscript – that is, the living and infallible Church of Christ: Ubi Ecclesia, ibi Christus. [“Where the Church is, there Christ is.”]

Now I wish to devote what remains of this chapter to say something about the material instruments that were used for the writing and transmission of Holy Scriptures in the earliest days; and a brief review of the materials employed, and the dangers of loss and of corruption which necessarily accompanied the work, will convince us more than ever of the absolute need of some divinely protected authority like the Catholic Church to guard the Gospel from error and destruction, and preserve “the Apostolic deposit” (as it is called) from sharing the fate which is liable to overtake all things that are, as says St. Paul, contained in “earthen vessels.”

III. Various materials were used in ancient times for writing, as, e.g., stone, pottery, bark of trees, leather, and clay tablets among the Babylonians and Egyptians. (1) But before Christianity, and for the first few ages of our era, Papyrus was used, which has given its name to our “paper.” It was formed of the bark of the reed or bukrush, which once grew plentifully on the Nile banks. First split into layers, it was then glued by overlapping the edges, and another layer glued to this at right angles to prevent splitting, and, after sizing and drying, it formed a suitable writing surface. Thousands of rolls of papyrus have been found in Egyptian and Babylonian tombs and beneath the buried city of Herculaneum, owing their preservation probably to the very fact of being buried, because, as I said, the substance was very brittle, frail and perishable, and unsuited for rough usage. Though probably many copies of the Bible were originally written on this papyrus (and most likely the inspired writers used it themselves), none have survived the the wreck of ages. It is this material St. John is referring to when he says to his correspondent in his second Epistle, verse 12; “Having more things to write to you, I would not by paper and ink.”

(2) When in the course of time, papyrus fell into comparative disuse from its unsuitableness and fragility, the skins of animals came to be used. This material had two names; if it was made out of the skin of sheep or goats, it was called Parchment; if made of the skin of delicate young calves, it was called Vellum. Vellum was used in earlier days, but being very dear and hard to obtain, gave place to a large extent to the coarser parchment. St. Paul speaks about this stuff when he tells St. Timothy to “bring the books, but especially the parchments.” (2 Tim. 4:13). Most of the New Testament manuscripts which we possess today are written on this material. A curious consequence of the costliness of this substance was this, that the same sheet of vellum was made to do duty twice over, and became what is termed a palimpsest, which means “rubbed again.” A scribe, say, of the tenth century, unable to purchase a new supply of vellum, would take a sheet containing, perhaps, a writing of the second century, which had become worn out through age and difficult to decipher; he would wash or scrape out the old ink, and use the surface over again for copying out some other work in which the living generation felt more interest. It goes without saying that in many cases the writing thus blotted out was of far greater value than that which replaced it; indeed, some of the most precious monuments of sacred learning are of this description, and they were discovered in this way. The process of erasing or sponging out the ancient ink was seldom so perfectly done as to prevent all traces of it still remaining, and some strokes of the older hand might often be seen peeping out beneath the more modern writing. In 1834 some chemical mixture was discovered which was applied with much success and had the effect of restoring the faded lines and letters of those venerable records. Cardinal Mai, a man of colossal scholarship and untiring industry, and a member of the Sacred College in Rome under Pope Gregory XVI, was a perfect expert in this branch of research, and by his ceaseless labors and ferret-like hunts in the Vatican library brought to light some remarkable old manuscripts and some priceless works of antiquity. Among these, all students have to thank him for restoring a long lost work of Cicero (De Republica) that was known to have existed previously and which the Cardinal unearthed from beneath St. Augustine’s Commentary on the Psalms! The most important MS. of the New Testament of this description is called Codex of Ephraem. About 200 years ago it was noticed that this curious-looking vellum, all soiled and stained, and hitherto thought to contain only the theological discourses of St. Ephraem, an old Syrian Father, was showing dim traces and faint lines of some older writing beneath. The chemical mixture was applied, and lo, what should appear but a most ancient and valuable copy of Holy Scriptures of handwriting not later than the fifth century! This had been coolly scrubbed out by some impecunious scribe of the twelfth century to make room for his favorite work, the discourses of St. Ephraem! Let us charitably hope that the good monk (as he probably was) did not know what he was scrubbing out. At all events, it was brought into France by Queen Catherine de Medici and is now safely preserved in the Royal Library at Paris, containing on the same page two works, one written on top of the other with a period of 700 years between them. I have told you about the sheets used by the earliest writers of the New Testament. What kind of pen and ink had they?

(1) Well, for the brittle papyrus, a reed was used, much the same as that still in use in the East; but of course for writing on hard, tough parchment or vellum a metal pen, or stylus, was required. It is to this St. John refers in his third Epistle (verse 12) when he says,”Having more things to write unto you, I would not by paper and ink.” The strokes of these pens may still be seen quite clearly impressed on the parchment, even though all trace of the ink has utterly vanished. Besides this, a bodkin or needle was employed, by means of which, a long with a ruler, a blank leaf or sheet was carefully divided into columns and lines; and on nearly all the manuscripts these lines and marks may still be seen, sometimes so firmly and deeply drawn that those on one side of the leaf have penetrated through to the other side, without, however, cutting the vellum.

(2) The ink used was a composition of soot or lampback or burnt shavings of ivory, mixed with gum or wineless or alum (for all these elements entered into it). In most ancient manuscripts, unfortunately, the ink has for the most part turned red or brown, or become very pale, or peeled off or eaten through the vellum, and in many cases later hands have ruthlessly retraced the ancient letters, making the original writing look much coarser. But we know that many colored inks were used, such as red, green, blue or purple, and they are often quite brilliant to this day.

(3) As to the shape of the MSS., the oldest form was that of a roll. They were generally fixed on two rollers, so that the part read (for example, in public worship) could be wound out of sight and a new portion brought to view. This was the kind of thing that was handed to Our Lord when He went into the synagogue at Nazareth on the Sabbath. “He unfolded the book”, and read: and then “when he had folded the book, he restored it to the minister.” (Luke 4:17, 20.) When not in use, these rolls were kept in round boxes or cylinders, and some times in cases of silver or cloth of great value. The leaves of parchment were sometimes of considerable size, such as folio; but generally the shape was what we know as quarto [about 9 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches] or smaller folio, and some were octavo. The skin of one animal, especially if an antelope, could furnish many sheets of parchment; but if the animal was a small calf, then its skin could only furnish very few sheets; and an instance of this is the manuscript called the Sinaitic (now in St. Petersburg), whose sheets are so large that the skin of a single animal (believed to have been the youngest and finest antelope) could only provide two sheets (8 pages).

(4) The page was divided into two or three or four columns (though the latter is very rare). The writing was of two distinct kinds, one called Unocal (meaning an inch), consisting entirely of capital letters, with no connection between the letters, and no space between words at all; the other style, which is later, was cursive (that is, a running hand) like our ordinary handwriting, with capitals only at the beginning of sentences; and in this case the letters are joined together and there is a space between words. The uncial style (consisting of capitals only) was prevalent for the first three centuries of our era; in the fourth century the cursive began and continued till the invention of printing.

(5) Originally, I need hardly say, there was no such thing in the MSS as divisions into chapters and verses, and no points or full stops [i.e., periods] or commas, to let you know where one sentence began and the next finished: hence the reading of one of these ancient records is a matter of some difficulty to the unscholarly. The division into chapters so familiar to us in our modern Bibles was the invention either of Cardinal Hugo, a Dominican, in 1248, or more probably of Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1227); and it is no calumny upon the reputation of either of these great men to say that the division is not very satisfactory. He is not fortunate in his method of splitting up the page of Scripture; the chapters are of very unequal length and frequently interrupt a narrative or argument or an incident in an inconvenient way, as anyone may see for himself by looking up such passages as Acts 21:40; or Acts 4 and 5, or 1 Corinthians 12 and 13. The division again into verses was the work of one Robert Stephens, and the first English version in which it appeared was the Geneva Bible, 1560. This gentleman seems to have completed his performance on a journey between Paris and Lyons (inter equitandum, as the Latin biographer phrases it), probably while stopping overnights in inns and hotels. “I think,” an old commentator quaintly remarks, “it had been better done on his knees in the closet.” To this I would venture to add that his achievement must share the same criticism of inappropriateness as the arrangement into chapters.

(6) The manuscripts of the Bible, as I before remarked, now known to be in existence, number about 3000, of which the vast majority are in running hand, and hence are subsequent to the fourth century. There are none of course later than the sixteenth century, for then the book began to be printed; and none have yet been found earlier than the fourth. Their age, that is, the precise century in which they were written, it is not always easy to determine. About the tenth century the scribes who copied them began to notify the date in a corner of the page; but before that time we can only judge by various characteristics that appear in the MSS. For example, the more simple and upright and regular the letters are, the less flourish and ornamentation they have about them, the nearer equality there is between the height and breadth of the characters-the more ancient we may be sure is the MS. Then, of course, we can often tell the age of a MS – approximately, at least – by the kind of pictures the scribe had painted in it, the illustrations he had introduced, and the ornamenting of the first letter of a sentence or on the top of a page; for we know in what century that particular style of illumination prevailed. It would be impossible to give anyone who had never seen any specimens of these wonderful old manuscripts a proper idea of their appearance or make him realize their unique beauty. There they are today, perfect marvels of human skill and workmanship, manuscripts of every kind: old parchment all stained and worn; books of faded purple lettered with silver, and their pages beautifully designed and ornamented; bundles of finest vellum, yellow with age, and bright even yet with the gold and vermilion laid on by pious hands 1000 years ago – in many shapes, in many colors, in many languages.

There they are, scattered throughout the libraries and museums of Europe, challenging the admiration of everyone that beholds them for the astonishing beauty, clearness and regularity of their lettering, and the incomparable illumination of their capitals and headings – still at this day, after so many centuries of change and chance, charming the eye of all with their soft yet brilliant colors and defying our modern scribes to produce anything the least approaching them in loveliness. There lie the sacred records, hoary with age, fragile, slender, time-worn, bearing upon their front clear proofs of their ancient birth; yet with the bloom of youth still clinging about them. We simply stand and wonder; and we also despair. We speak glibly of the “Dark Ages” and despise their monks and friars (and I shall, with your leave, speak a little more about them immediately), but one thing at least is certain, and that is, that not in the wide world today could any of their critics find a craftsman to make a copy of Holy Scripture worthy to be compared for beauty, clearness and finish with any one of the hundreds of copies produced in the contents and monasteries of medieval Europe.

Taken from Where We Got The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by RT REV HENRY G. GRAHAM I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

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Deficiencies of the Protestant Bible

(1) The point that we have arrived at now, if you remember, is this: The Catholic Church, through her Popes and Councils, gathered together the separate books that Christians venerated which existed in different parts of the world; sifted the chaff from the wheat, the false from the genuine; decisively and finally formed a collection – i.e., drew up a list or catalogue of inspired and apostolic writings into which no other book should ever be admitted, and declared that these and these only were the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament. The authorities that were mainly responsible for thus settling and closing the “Canon” of Holy Scripture were the Councils of Hippo and of Carthage in the fourth century, under the influence of St. Augustine (at the latter of which two Legatees were present from the Pope), and the Popes Innocent I in 405, and Gelasius, 494, both of whom issued lists of Sacred Scripture identical with that fixed by the Councils. From that date all through the centuries this was the Christian’s Bible. The Church never admitted any other; and at the Council of Florence in the 15th century and the Council of Trent in the 16th and the [First] Council of the Vatican in the 19th she renewed her anathemas against all who should deny or dispute this collection of books as the inspired Word of God.

(2) What follows from this is self-evident. The same authority which made and collected and preserved these books, alone has the right to claim them as her own and to say what the meaning of them is. The Church of St. Paul and St. Peter and St. James in the first century was the same Church as that of the Council of Carthage and of St. Augustine in the fourth, and of the Council of Florence in the 15th, and of the Vatican in the 19th – one and the same body – growing and developing, certainly, as every living thing must do, but still preserving its identity and remaining essentially the same body, as a man of 80 is the same person as he was at 40, and the same person at 40 as he was at 2. The Catholic Church of today, then, may be compared to a man who has grown from infancy to youth, and from youth to middle age. Suppose a man wrote a letter setting forth certain statements; whom would you naturally ask to tell what the meaning of these statements was? Surely the man that wrote it. The Church wrote the New Testament; she, and she alone, can tell us what the meaning of it is.

Again, the Catholic Church is like a person who was present at the side of Our Blessed Lord when He walked and talked in Galilee and Judea. Suppose, for a moment, that that man was gifted with perpetual youth (this, by the way, is an illustration from W.H. Mallock’s, Doctrine and Doctrinal Disruption, chap. xi) and also with perfect memory, and had heard all the teaching and explanations of Our Redeemer and of His Apostles, and retained them; he would be an invaluable witness and authority to consult, surely, so as to discover exactly what was the doctrine of Jesus Christ and of the Twelve. But such undoubtedly is the Catholic Church: not an individual person, but a corporate personality who lived with, indeed was called into being by, Our Divine Saviour; in whose hearing He uttered all His teaching; who listened to the Apostles in their day and generation, repeating and expounding the Saviour’s doctrine; who, ever young and ever strong, has persisted and lived all through the centuries, and continues even till our own day fresh and keen in memory as ever, and able to assure us, without fear of forgetting, or mixing things up, or adding things out of his own head, what exactly Our Blessed Lord said, and taught, and meant, and did.

Suppose, again, that the man we are imagining had written down much of what he heard Christ and the Apostles say, but had not fully reported all, and was able to supplement what was lacking by personal explanations which he gave from his perfect memory: that, again, is a figure of the Catholic Church. She wrote down much, indeed, and the most important parts of Our Lord’s teaching, and of the Apostolic explanation of it, in Scripture; but nevertheless she did not intend it to be a complete and exhaustive account, apart from her own explanation of it; and, as a matter of fact, she is able from her own perpetual memory to give fuller and clearer accounts, and to add some things that are either omitted from the written report, or are only hinted at, or partially recorded, or mentioned merely in passing.

Such is the Catholic Church in relation to her own book, the New Testament. It is hers because she wrote it by her first Apostles, and preserved it and guarded it all down the ages by her Popes and Bishops; nobody else has any right to it whatsoever, any more than a stranger has the right to come into your house and break open your desk and pilfer your private documents. Therefore, I say that for people to step in, 1500 years after the Catholic Church had had possession of the Bible, and to pretend that it is theirs, and that they alone know what the meaning of it is, and that the Scriptures alone, without the voice of the Catholic Church explaining them, are intended by God to be the guide and rule of faith – this is an absurd and groundless claim. Only those who are ignorant of the true history of the Sacred Scriptures – their origin and authorship and preservation – could pretend that there is any logic or common sense in such a mode of acting. And the absurdity is magnified when it is remembered that the Protestants did not appropriate the whole of the Catholic books, but actually cast out some from the collection, and took what remained, and elevated these into a new “Canon,” or volume of Sacred Scripture, such as had never been seen or heard of before, from the first to the sixteenth century, in any Church, either in Heaven above or on earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth! Let us make good this charge.

(3) Open a Protestant Bible, and you will find there are seven complete Books wanting – that is, seven books fewer than there are in the Catholic Bible, and seven fewer than there were in every collection and catalogue of Holy Scripture from the fourth to the sixteenth century. Their names are Tobias, Baruch, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, I Machabees, II Macabees, together with seven chapters of the Book of Esther, and 66 verses of the 3rd chapter of Daniel, commonly called “The Song of the Three Children” (Daniel 3:24-90, Douay version). These were deliberately cut out, and the Bible bound up without them. The criticisms and remarks of Luther, Calvin and the Swiss and German Reformers about these seven books of the Old Testament show to what depths of impiety those unhappy men had allowed themselves to fall when they broke away from the true Church. Even in regard to the New Testament, it required all the powers of resistance on the part of the more conservative Reformers to prevent Luther (an ex-Catholic priest) from flinging out the Epistle of St. James as unworthy to remain within the volume of Holy Scripture – “an Epistle of straw,” he called it, “with no character of the Gospel in it.” In the same way, and almost to the same degree, he dishonored the Epistle of St. Jude and the Epistle to the Hebrews and the beautiful Apocalypse of St. John, declaring they were not on the same footing as the rest of the books and did not contain the same amount of Gospel (i.e., his Gospel). The presumptuous way, indeed, in which Luther, among others, poured contempt and doubt upon some of the inspired writings which had been acknowledged and cherished and venerated for 1000 or 1200 years would be scarcely credible were it not that we have his very words in cold print, which cannot lie, and may be read in his biography or be seen quoted in such books as Dr. Westcott’s The Bible in the Church. And why did he impugn such books as we have mentioned? Because they did not suit his new doctrines and opinions. He had arrived at the principle of private judgement – of picking and choosing religious doctrines; and whenever any book, such as the Book of Machabees, taught a doctrine that was repugnant to his individual taste – as, for example, that “it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Mach. 12:46) – well, so much the worse for the book; “Throw it overboard,” was his sentence, and overboard it went. And it was the same with passages and texts in those books which Luther allowed to remain and pronounced to be worthy to find a place within the boards of the new Reformed Bible. In short, he not only cast out certain books, but he mutilated some that were left. For example, not pleased with St. Paul’s doctrine, “We are justified by faith,” and fearing lest good works (a Popish superstition) might creep in, he added the word “only” after St. Paul’s words, making the sentence run: “We are justified by faith only,” and so it reads in Lutheran Bibles to this day [1911]. An action such as that must surely be reprobated by all Bible Christians. What surprises us is the audacity of the man that could coolly change by a stroke of the pen a fundamental doctrine of the Apostle of God, St. Paul, who wrote, as all admitted, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. But this was the outcome of the Protestant standpoint, individual judgement: no authority outside of oneself. However ignorant, however stupid, however unlettered, you may – indeed, you are bound to – cut and carve out a Bible and a Religion for yourself. No Pope, no Council, no Church shall enlighten you or dictate or hand down the doctrines of Christ. And the result we have seen in the corruption of God’s Holy Word.

(4) Yet, in spite of all reviling of the Roman Church, the Reformers were forced to accept from her those Sacred Scriptures which they retained in their collection. Whatever Bible they have today, disfigured as it is, was taken from us. Blind indeed must he the Evangelical Christian who cannot recognize in the old Catholic Bible the quarry from which he has hewn the Testament he loves and studies – but with what loss! At what a sacrifice! In what a mutilated and disfigured condition! That the Reformers should appropriate unabridged the Bible of the Catholic Church (which was the only volume of God’s Scripture ever known on earth), even for the purpose of elevating it into a false position – this we could have understood; what staggers us is their deliberate excision from that Sacred Volume of some of the inspired Books which had God for their Author, and their no less deliberate alteration of some of the texts of those books that were suffered to remain. It is on consideration of such points as these that pious persons our side the Catholic fold would do well to ask themselves the question – Which Christian body reslly loves and reveres the Scriptures most? Which has proved, by its actions, it’s love and veneration? And which seems most likely to incur the anathema, recorded by St. John, that God will send upon those who shall rake away from the words of the Book of Life? (Apoc. 22:19)

God Bless BJS!!

Taken from Where We Got The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by RT REV HENRY G. GRAHAM I am not the Author merely the distributor.

Catholic Church Compiles The New Testament

Now we know that the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament were read aloud to the congregations of Christians that met on the first day of the week for Holy Mass (just as they are still among ourselves): one Gospel here, another there; one Epistle of St. Paul in one place, another in another; all scattered about in various places of the world where there were bodies of Christians. And the next question that naturally occurs to us is: When were these separate works gathered together so as to form a volume, and added to the Old Testament to make up what we now call the Bible?

Well they were not collected for the best part of 300 years. So that here again, I am afraid, is a hard nut for Protestants to crack, namely, that though we admit that the separate works composing the New Testament were now in existence, yet they were for centuries not to be found altogether in one volume, were not obtainable by multitudes of Christians, and even were altogether unknown to many in different parts of the world. How, then, could they possibly form a guide to Heaven and the chart of salvation for those who had never seen or read or known about them? It is a fact of history that the Council of Carthage, which was held in 397 A.D., mainly through the influence of St. Augustine, settled the Canon or Collection of New Tesament Scriptures as we Catholics have them now and decreed that its decision should be sent on to Rome for confirmation. No Council (that is, no gathering of the Bishops of the Catholic Church for the settlement of some point of doctrine) was ever considered to be authoritative or binding unless it was approved and confirmed by the Roman Pontiff, while the decisions of every General Council that has recieved the approval of Rome are binding on the consciences of all Catholics. The Council of Carthage, then, is the first known to us in which we find a clear and undisputed catalogue of all the New Testament books as we have them in Bibles now.

It is true that many Fathers and Doctors and writers of the Church in the first three centuries from time to time mention by name many of the various Gospels and Epistles; and some, as we come nearer 397, even refer to a collection already existing in places. For example, we find Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, after the Council of Nicea, applying to Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea and a great scholar, to provide fifty copies of the Christian Scriptures for public use in the churches of Constantinople, his new capital. This was in 332 A.D. The contents of these copies are known to us: perhaps (according to some, even probably) one of these very copies of Eusebius’ handiwork has come down to us; but they are not precisely the same as our New Testament, though very nearly so. Again, we find lists of the books of the New Testament drawn up by St. Athanasius, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and many other great authorities, as witnessing to what was generally acknowledged as inspired Scripture in their day and generation and country; but I repeat that none of these corresponds perfectly to the collection in the Bible that we possess now; we must wait till 397 for the Council of Carthage before we find the complete collection of New Testament books settled as we have it today, and as all Christendom had it till the sixteenth century, when the Reformers changed it.

You may ask me, however, what was the difference between the lists of New Testament books found in various countries and different authors before 397, and the catalogue drawn up at the Council of that date? Well, that introduces us to a very important point which tells us eloquently if the office that the Catholic Church performed, under God the Holy Ghost, in selecting and sifting and stamping with her Divine authority the Scriptures of the New Law; and I make bold to say that a calm consideration of the part that Rome took in the making and drawing up and preserving of the Christian Scriptures will convince any impartial mind that to the Catholic Church alone, so much maligned, we owe it that we know what the New Testament should consist of, and why precisely it consists of these books and of no others; and that without her we should, humanly speaking, have had no New Testament at all, or, if a New Testament, then one in which works spurious and works genuine would have been mixed up in ruinous and inextricable confusion.

I have used the words “spurious” and “genuine” in regard to the Gospels and Epistles in the Christian Church. You are horrified, and hold up your hands and exclaim: “Lord, save us! Here we have a Higher Critic and a Modernist.” Not at all, Dear Reader; quite the reverse, I assure you. Observe, I have said “in the Christian Church” – I did not say “in the Bible”, for there is nothing spurious in the Bible. But why? Simply because the Roman See in the fourth century of our era prevented anything spurious being admitted into it. There were spurious books floating about “in the Christian Church,” without a doubt, in the early centuries; this is certain, because we know their very names; and it is precisely in her rejection of these, and in her guarding the collection of inspired writings from being mixed up with them, that we shall now see the great work that the Catholic Church did, under God’s Holy Spirit, for all succeeding generations of Christians, whether within the fold or outside of it. It is through the Roman Catholic Church that Protestants have got their Bible; there is not (to paraphase some words of Newman) a Protestant that vilifies and condemns the Catholic Church for her treatment of Holy Scripture but owes it to that Church that he has the Scripture at all. What Almighty God might have done if Rome had not handed down the Bible to us is a fruitless speculation with which we have nothing whatever to do. It is a contingent possibility belonging to an order of things which has never existed, except in imagination. What we are concerned with is the order of things and the sequence of history in which we are now living, and which we know, and which consequently God has divinely disposed; and in this providential arrangement of history it is a fact, as clear as any other historical fact, that Almighty God chose the Catholic Church, and her only, to give us His Holy Scriptures, and to give us them as we have them now, neither greater nor less. This I shall now proceed to prove.

(i) Before the collection of New Testament books was finally settled at the Council of Carthage, 397, we find that there were three distinct classes into which the Christian writings were divided. This we know (and every scholar admits it) from the works of early Christian writers like Eusebius, Jerome, Epiphanius and a whole host of others that we could name. These classes were (1) the books “acknowledged” as Canonical, (2) books “disputed” or “controverted,” (3) books declared “spurious” or false.

Now in class (1), i.e., those acknowledged by Christians everywhere to be genuine and authentic and to have been written by Apostolic men, we find such books as the Four Gospels, 13 Epistles of St. Paul, Acts of the Apostles. These were recognized east and west as “Canonical,” genuinely the works of the Apostles and Evangelists whose names they bore, worthy of being in the “Canon” or sacred collection of inspired writings of the Church and read aloud at Holy Mass.

But there was (2) a class – and Protestants should particularly take notice of the fact, as it utterly undermines their Rule of Faith, “the Bible and the Bible only” – of books that were disputed, controverted: in some places acknowledged, in others rejected; and among these we actually find the Epistle of St. James, Epistle of St. Jude, 2nd Epistle of St. Peter; 2nd and 3rd of St. John, Epistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse of St. John. There were doubts about these works; perhaps, it was said, they were not really written by Apostles, or Apostolic men, or by the men whose names they carried. In some parts of the Christian world they were suspected, though in others unhesitantly received as genuine. There is no getting out of this fact, then: Some of the Books of our Bible which we, Catholic and Protestant alike, now recognize as inspired and as the written Word of God, were at one time, and indeed for long, viewed with suspicion, doubted, disputed, as not possessing the same authority as the others. (I am speaking only of the New Testament books; the same could be proved, if there were space, of the Old Testament; but the New Testament suffices abundantly for the argument.) But further still – What is even more striking and is equally fatal to the Protestant theory – in this (2) class of “controverted” and doubtful books, some were to be found which are not now in our New Testament at all, but which were by many then considered to be inspired and Apostolic, or were actually read at the public worship of the Christians, or were used for instructions to the newly-controverted – in short, ranked in some places as equal to the works of St. James or St. Peter or St. Jude. Among these we mention specially the “Shepard” of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, the Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles [Didache], Apostolic Constitutions, Gospel according to the Hebrews, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Laodiceans, Epistle of St. Clement, and others. Why are these not in our Bible today? We shall see in a minute.

Lastly, (3) there was a class of books floating about before 397 A.D. which were never acknowledged as of any value in the Church, not treated as having Aposoltic authority, seeing that they were obviously spurious and false, full of absurd fables, superstitions, puerilities, and stories and miracles of Our Lord and His Apostles which made them a laughingstock to the world. Of these some have survived and we have them today, to let us see what stamp of writing they were; most have perished. But we know the names of about 50 Gospels (such as the Gospel of James, the Gospel of Thomas, and the like), about 22 Acts (like the Acts of Pilate, Acts of Paul and Thecla, and others), and a smaller number of Epistles and Apocalypsed. These were condemned and rejected wholesale as “Apocrypha” – that is, false, spurious, uncanonical.

(ii) This then being that state of matters, you can see at once what perplexity arose for the poor Christians in the days of persecution when they were required to surrender their sacred books. The Emperor Diocletian, for example, who inaugurated a terrible war against the Christians, issued an edict in 303 A.D. that all the churches should be razed to the ground and the Sacred Scriptures should be delivered up to the pagan authorities to be burned. Well, the question was : What was Sacred Scripture? If a Christian gave up an inspired writing to the pagans to save his life, he thereby became an apostate: he denied his Faith, he betrayed his Lord and God; he saved his life, indeed, but he lost his soul. Some did this and were called “traditores,” traitors, betrayers, “deliverers up” (of the Scriptures). Most, however, preferred martyrdom, and refusing to surrender the inspired writings, suffered the death. But it was a most perplexing and harrowing question they had to decide – what really was Sacred Scripture? I am not bound to go to the stake for refusing to give up some “spurious” Gospel or Epistle. Could I, then, safely give up some of the “controverted” or disputed books, like the Epistle of St. James, or the Hebrews, or the Shepard of Hermas, or the Epistle of St. Barnabus, or of St. Clement? There is no need to be a martyr by mistake. And so the stress of persecution had the effect of making still more urgent the necessity of deciding once and for all what was to form the New Testament. What, definitely and precisely, were to be the books for which a Christian would be bound to lay down his life on pain of losing his soul?

(iii) Here, as I said, before, comes in the Council of Carthage, 397 A.D., confirming and approving the decrees of a previous Council (Hippo, 393 A.D.), declaring, for all time to come, what was the exact collection of sacred writings thenceforth to be reckoned, to the exclusion of all others, as the inspired Scripture of the New Testament. That collection is precisely that which Catholics possess at this day in their Douay Bible. That decree of Carthage was never changed. It was sent to Rome for confirmation. As I have already remarked, a Council, even though not a general Council of the whole Catholic Church, may yet have its decrees made binding on the whole Church by the approval and will of the Pope. A second Council of Carthage, over which St. Augustine presided in 419 A.D., renewed the decrees of the former one and declared that its act was to be notified to Boniface, Bishop of Rome, for the purpose of confirming it. From that date all doubt ceased as to what was and what was not “spurious,” or “genuine,” or “doubtful” among the Christian writings then known. Rome had spoken. A Council of the Roman Catholic Church had settled it. You might hear a voice here or there, in East or West, in subsequent times, raking up some old doubt, or raising a question as to whether this or that book of the New Testament is really what it claims to be or should be where it is. But it is a voice in the wilderness.

Rome had fixed the “Canon” of the New Testament. There are henceforward but two classes of books – inspired and not inspired. Within the covers of the New Testament all is inspired; all without, known or unknown, is uninspired. Under the guidance of the Holy Ghost the Council declared “This is genuine, that is false”; “this is Apostolic, that is not Apostolic.” She sifted, weighed, discussed, selected, rejected, and finally decided what was what. Here she rejected a writing that was once very popular and reckoned by many as inspired and was actually read as Scripture at public service; there, again, she accepted another that was very much disputed and viewed with suspicion, and said: “This is to go into the New Testament.” She had the evidence before her; she had Tradition to help her; and above all she had the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to enable her to come to a right conclusion on so momentous a matter. And in fact, her conclusion was received by all Christendom until the sixteenth century, when, as we shall see, men arose rebelling against her desicion and altering the Sacred Volume. But, at all events in regard to the New Testament, the Reformers left the books as they found them, and today their Testament contains exactly the same books as ours; and what I wish to drive home is that they got these books from Rome, that without the Roman Catholic Church they would not have gotten them, and that the decrees of Carthage, 397 and 419 A.D., when all Christianity was Roman Catholic – reaffirmed by the Council of Florence, 1442, under Pope Eugenius IV, and the Council of Trent, 1546 – these decrees of the Roman Church, and these only, are the means and the channel and the authority which Almighty God has used to hand down to is His written Word. Who can deny it? The Church existed before the Bible; she made the Bible; she selected its books, and she preserved it. She handed it down. Through her we know what is the Word of God, and what the word of man; and hence to try at this time of day, as many do, to overthrow the Church by means of this very Bible, and to put it above the Church, and to revile her for destroying it and corrupting it – What is this but to strike the mother that reared them; to curse the hand that fed them; to turn against their best friend and benefactor; and to repay with ingratitude and slander the very guide and protector who has led them to drink of the water out of the Saviour’s fountains?

God Bless BJS!!

Taken from Where We Got The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by RT REV HENRY G. GRAHAM I am not the Author merely the distributor.

The Church Precedes The New Testament

So far, we have been dealing with rather dry material. We have seen how the Old Testament books came to be collected into one volume; now it remains to see how the Catholic Church also composed and selected and formed into another volume the separate books of the New Testament.

1. Now you will remember what I said before, that the New Testament was not, any more than the Old, all written at one time, or all by one man, but that at least 40 years passed away between the writing of the first and the writing of the last of its books. It is made up of four Gospels, 14 Epistles of St. Paul, two of St. Peter, one of St. James, one of St. Jude, three of St. John, together with the Apocalypse of St. John, and the Acts of Apostles by St. Luke, who also wrote the third Gospel; so that we have, in this collection, works by at least eight different writers; and from the year that the earliest book was composed (probably the Gospel of St. Matthew) to the year that St. John composed his Gospel, about half a century had elapsed. Our Blessed Lord Himself never, so far as we know, wrote a line of Scripture – certainly none that has been preserved. He never told His Apostles to write anything. He did not command them to commit to writing what He had delivered to them: but He said, “Go ye and teach all nations,” “preach the Gospel to every creature,” “He that heareth you heareth Me.” What He commanded and meant them to do was precisely what He had done Himself, namely, deliver the Word of God to the people by the living voice – convince, persuade, instruct, convert them by addressing themselves face to face to living men and women; not entrust their message to a dead book which might perish and be destroyed, and be misunderstood and misinterpreted and corrupted, but adopt the more safe and natural way of presenting the truth to them by word of mouth, and of training others to do the same after they themselves were gone, and so, by a living tradition, preserving and handing down the Word of God as they had recieved it, to all generations.

2. And this was, as a matter of fact, the method the Apostles adopted. Only five out of the twelve wrote down anything at all that has been preserved to us; and of that, not a line was penned till at least 10 years after the death of Christ, for Jesus Christ was crucified in 33 A.D., and the first of the New Testament books was not written till about 45 A.D. You see what follows? The Church and the Faith existed before the Bible; that seems an elementary and simple fact which no one can deny or ever has denied. Thousands of people became Christians through the work of the Apostles and missionaries of Christ in various lands, and believed the whole truth of God as we believe it now, and became Saints, before ever they saw or read, or could possibly see or read, a single sentence of inspired Scripture of the New Testament, for the simple reason that such Scripture did not then exist. How, then, did they become Christians? In the same way, of course, that pagans become Catholics nowadays, by hearing the truth of God from the lips of Christ’s missionaries. When the twelve Apostles met together in Jerusalem and portioned out the known world among themselves for purposes of evangelization, allotting one country to one Apostle (such as India to St. Thomas), and another to another, how did they propose to evangelize these people? By presenting each one with a New Testament? Such a thing did not exist, and, we may safely say, was not even thought of. Why did Our Lord promise them the gift of the Holy Ghost and command them to be “witnesses” of Him? And why, in fact, did the Holy Ghost come down upon the Twelve and endow them with the power of speaking in various languages? Why but that they might be able to “preach the Gospel to every creature” in the tongue of every creature.

3. I have said that the Apostles at first never thought of writing the New Testament; and neither they did. The books of the New Testament were produced and called forth by special circumstances that arose, were written to meet particular demands and emergencies. Nothing was further from the minds of the Apostles and Evangelists than the idea of composing works which should be collected and formed into one volume and so constitute the Holy Book of the Christians. And we can imagine St. Paul staring in amazement if he had been told that his Epistles, and St. Peter’s, and St. John’s and the others would be tied up together and elevated into the position of a complete and exhaustive statement of the doctrines of Christianity, to be placed on each man’s hand as an easy and infallible guide in faith and morals, independent of any living and teaching authority to interpret them. No one would have been more shocked at the idea of his letters usurping the place of the authoritative teacher, the Church, than the great Apostle who himself said, “How shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach unless they be sent? Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” The fact is that no religion yet known has been effectually propagated among men except by word of mouth, and certainly everything in the natural and spiritual position of the Apostles on the one hand, and of the Jews on the other, was utterly unfavorable to the spread of Christianity by means of a written record.

The Jewish people were not used to it, and the Gentiles could not have understood it. Even Protestant authors of the highest standing are compelled to admit that the living teaching of the Church was necessarily the means chosen by Jesus Christ for the spread of His Gospel, and that the committing of it to writing was a later and secondary development. Dr. Westcott, Bishop of Durham, than whom among Anglicans there is not a higher authority, and who is reckoned, indeed, by all as a standard scholar on the Canon of Scripture, says (The Bible in the Church – pp. 53 and following): “In order to appreciate the Aposolic age in its essential character, it is necessary to dismiss not only the ideas which are drawn from a collected New Testament, but those also, in a great measure, which spring from the several groups of writings of which it is composed. The first work of the Apostles, and that out of which all their other functions grew, was to deliver in living words a personal testimony to the cardinal facts of the Gospel – the Ministry, the Death and the Resurrection of Our Lord. It was only in the course of time, and under the influence of external circumstances, that they committed their testimony, or any part of it, to writing. Their peculiar duty was to preach. That they did, in fact, perform a mission for all ages in perpetuating the tidings which they delivered was due, not to any conscious design which they formed, nor to any definite command which they recieved, but to that mysterious power…The repeated experience of many ages has even yet hardly sufficed to show that a permanent record of His words and deeds, open to all, must co-exist with the living body of the Church, if that is to continue in pure and healthy vigour.” And again: “The Apostles, when they speak, claim to speak with Divine authority, but they nowhere profess to give in writing a system of Christian Doctrine. Gospels and Epistles, with the exception, perhaps, of the writings of St. John, were called out by special circumstances. There is no trace of any designed connection between the separate books, except in the case of the Gospel of St. Luke and the Acts (also by St. Luke), still less of any outward unity or completeness in the entire collection. On the contrary, it is not unlikely that some Epistles of St. Paul have been lost, and though, in point of fact, the books which remain do combine to form a perfect whole, yet the completeness is due not to any conscious co-operation of their authors, but to the will of Him by whose power they wrote and wrought.”

What a contrast there is, in these clear words of the great scholar, to the common delusion that seems to have seized some minds – that the Bible, complete and bound, dropped down among the Christians from Heaven after the day of Pentecost; or, at the least, that the Twelve Apostles sat down together in an upper room, pens in hand, and wrote off at a sitting table all the Books of the New Testament! And allow me to give one more short quotation to drive home the point I am laboring at, that the written New Testament could never have been intended as the only means of preaching salvation. “It was some considerable time after Our Lord’s Ascension” (writes the Protestant author of Helps to the Study of the Bible, p.2), “before any of the books contained in the New Testament were actually written. The first and most important work of the Apostles was to deliver a personal testimony to the chief facts of the Gospel history. Their teaching was at first oral, and it was no part of their intention to create a permanent literature.” These, I consider, are valuable admissions.

4. But now, you may say, “What was the use of writing the Gospels and Epistles then at all? Did not God inspire men to write them? Are you not belittling and despising God’s Word?” No, not at all; we are simply putting it in its proper place, the place that God meant it to have; and I would add, the Catholic Church is the only body in these days which teaches infallibly that the Bible, and the whole of it, is the Word of God, and defends its inspiration, and denounces and excommunicates anyone who would dare to impugn its Divine origin and authority.

I said before, and I repeat, that the separate books of the New Testament came into being to meet special demands, in response to particular needs, and were not, nor are they now, absolutely necessary either to the preaching or the perpetuating of the Gospel of Christ.

It is easy to see how the Gospels arose. So long as the Apostles were still living, the necessity for written records of the words and actions of Our Lord was not so pressing. But when the time came for their removal from this world, it was highly expedient that some correct, authoritative, reliable account be left of Our Lord’s life by those who had known Him personally, or at least were in a position to have first-hand, uncorrupted information concerning it. And this was all the more necessary because there were being spread abroad incorrect, unfaithful, indeed altogether spurious Gospels, which were calculated to injure and ridicule the character and work of Our Divine Redeemer. St. Luke distinctly declares that this was what caused him to undertake the writing of his Gospel – “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us.” (Luke 1:1). He goes on to say that he has his information from eyewitnesses, and has come to know all particulars from the very beginning, and therefore considers it right to set them down in writing, to secure a correct and trustworthy account of Christ’s life. So St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John penned their Gospels for the use of the Church, the one supplying often what another omits, but yet none pretending to give an exhaustive or perfect account of all that Jesus Christ said and did, for if this had been attempted, St. John tells us, “the whole world would not have contained the books that would be written” about it. The Gospels, then, are incomplete and fragmentary, giving us certainly the most important things to know about Our Saviour’s earthly life, but still not telling us all we might know, or much we do know in fact now and understand better, through the teaching of the Catholic Church, which has preserved traditions handed down since the time of the Apostles, from one generation to another. These Gospels were read, as they are now among Catholics, at the gatherings of the Christians in the earliest days on the Sundays – not to set forth a scheme of doctrine that they knew already, but to animate their courage, to excited their love and devotion to Jesus Christ, and impel them to imitate the example of the Beloved Master whose sayings and doings were read aloud in their ears.

Well, now, what I said about the Gospels is equally true of the Epistles, which make up practically the whole rest of the New Testament. They were called into existence at various times to meet pressing needs and circumstances; were addressed to particular individuals and communities in various places, and not to the Catholic Church at large. The thought furthest from the mind of the writers was that they should ever be collected into one volume and made to do duty as a complete and all-sufficient statement of Christian faith and morals.

How did they arise? In this natural and simple way: St. Peter, St. Paul and the rest went forth to various lands, preaching the Gospel, and made thousands of converts, and in each place founded a church, and left priests in charge, and a bishop sometimes (as, e.g., St. Timothy in Ephesus). Now these priests and converts had occasion many a time to consult their spiritual father and founder like St. Paul, or St. Peter, or St. James, on many points of doctrine or discipline, or morals; for we must not imagine that at that date, when the Church was in its infancy, things were so clearly seen or understood or formulated as they are now. It was, of course, the same Faith then as always; but still there were many points on which the newly made Christians were glad to consult the Apostles, who had been sent out with the unction of Jesus Christ fresh upon them – points of dogma and ritual and government and conduct which they alone could settle. And so we find St. Paul writing to the Ephesians (his converts at Ephesus), or to the Corinthians (his converts at Philippi), and so on to the rest (14 Epistles in all). And for what reason? Either in answer to communications sent to him from them, or because he had heard from other sources that there were some things that required correction in these places. All manner of topics are dealt with in these letters, sometimes in the most homely style. It might be to advise the converts, or to reprove them; to encourage them or instruct them; or to defend himself from false accusations. It might be, like that to Philemon, a letter about a private person as Onesimus, the slave.

But whatever the Epistles deal with, it is clear as the noonday sun that they were written just at particular times to meet particular cases that occurred naturally in the course of his missionary labors, and that neither St. Paul nor any of the other Apostles, intended by these letters to set forth the whole theology or scheme of Christian salvation any more than Pope Pius X intended to do so in his Decree against the Modernists, or in his Letter on the Sanctification of the Clergy. The thing seems plain on the face of it. Leo XIII writes to the Scotch Bishops on the Holy Scriptures, for example; or Pius X to the Eucharist Congress in London on the Blessed Sacrament, or publishes a Decree on Frequent Communion; or, again, one of our Bishops, say, sends forth a letter condemning secret societies, or issues a pastoral dealing with new marriage laws – are we to say that these documents are intended to teach the whole way of salvation to all men? That they profess to state the whole Catholic creed? The question has only to be asked to expose it’s absurdity. Yet precisely the same question may be put about the position of St. Paul’s Epistles. True, he was an Apostle, and consequently inspired, and his letters are the written Word of God, and therefore are a final and decisive authority on the various points of which they treat, if properly understood; but that does not alter the fact that they nowhere claim to state the whole of Christian truth, or to be a complete guide of salvation to anyone; they already presuppose the knowledge of the Christian Faith among those to whom they are addressed; they are written to believers, not to unbelievers; in one word, the Church existed and did it’s work before they were written, and it would still have done so even though they had never been written at all. St. Paul’s letters (for we are taking his merely as a sample of all) date from the year 52 A.D. to 68 A.D.; Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, leaving His Church to evangelize the world, in 33 A.D.; and we may confidently assert that the very last place we should expect to find a complete summary of Christian doctrine is in the Epistles of the New Testament.

There is no need to delay further on the matter. I think I have made it clear enough how the various books of the New Testament took their origin. And in so explaining the state of the case, we are not undervaluing the written Word of God, or placing it on a level inferior to what it deserves. We are simply showing the position it was meant to occupy in the economy of the Christian Church. It was written by the Church, by members (Apostles and Evangelists) of the Church; it belongs to the Church, and it is her office, therefore, to declare what it means. It is intended for instruction, meditation, spiritual reading, encouragement, devotion, and also serves as proof and testimony of the Church’s doctrines and Divine authority; but as a complete and exclusive guide to Heaven in the hands of every man – this it never was and never could be.

The Bible in the Church; the Church before the Bible – the Church the Maker and Interpreter of the Bible – that is right. The Bible above the Church; the Bible independent of the Church; the Bible, and the Bible only, the Religion of Christians – that is wrong. The one is the Catholic position; the other the Protestant.

God Bless BJS!!

Taken from Where We Got The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by RT REV HENRY G. GRAHAM I am not the Author merely the distributor.

The Making of the Old Testament

Now, looking at the Bible as it stands today, we find it is composed of 73 separate books – 46 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New. How has it come to be composed precisely of these 73* and no others, and no more and no less? Well, taking first the Old Testament, we know that it has always been divided into three main portions – the Law, the Prophets and the Writings.

(1) The Law, as I remarked before, was the nucleus, the earliest substantial part, which at one time formed the sole book of Scripture that the Jews possessed. Moses wrote it and placed a copy of it in the Ark; that was about 3300 years ago.

(2) To this were added, long afterward, the Prophets and the Writings, forming the complete Old Testament. At what date precisely the volume or “canon” of the Old Testament was finally closed and recognized as completed forever is not absolutely certain.

When was the Old Testament compiled? Some would decide for about the year 430 B.C., under Esdras and Nehemias, resting upon the authority of the famous Jew, Josephus, who lived immediately after Our Lord and who declares that since the death of Ataxerxes, B.C. 424, “no one had dared to add anything to the Jewish Scriptures, to take anything from them, or to make any change in them.” Other authorities, again, contend that it was not till near 100 B.C. that the Old Testament volume was finally closed by the inclusion of the “Writings.” But whichever contention is correct, one thing at least is certain, that by this last date – that is, for 100 years before the birth of Our Blessed Lord – the Old Testament existed precisely as we have it now.

Of course, I have been speaking so far of the Old Testament, in Hebrew, because it was written by Jewish authority, in the Jewish language – namely, Hebrew – for Jews, God’s chosen people. But after what is called the “Dispersion” of the Jews, when that people were scattered abroad and settled in many other lands outside Palestine, and began to lose their Hebrew tongue and gradually became familiar with “Greek, which was then a universal language, it was necessary to furnish them with a copy of their Sacred Scriptures in the Greek language. Hence arose that translation of the Old Testament into Greek known as the Septuagint. This word means in Latin 70, and is so named because it is supposed to have been the work of 70 translators, who performed their task at Alexandria, where there was a large Greek-speaking colony of Jews. Begun about 280 or 250 years before Christ, we may safely say that it was finished in the next century; it was the acknowledged Bible of all the “Jews of the Dispersion” in Asia, as well as in Egypt, and was the version used by Our Lord, His Apostles and Evangelists, and by Jews and Gentiles and Christians in the early days of Christianity. It is from this version that Jesus Christ and the New Testament writers and speakers quote when referring to the Old Testament.

But what about the Chrisitians in either lands who could not understand Greek? When the Gospel had been spread abroad, and many people embraced Christianity through the labors of Apostles and missionaries in the first two centuries of our era, naturally they had to be supplied with copies of the Scriptures of the Old Testament (which was the inspired Word of God) in their own tongue; and this gave rise to translations of the Bible into Armenian and Syriac and Coptic and Arabic and Ethiopic for the benefit of the Christians in these lands. For the Christians in Africa, where Latin was best understood, there was a translation of the Bible made into Latin about 150 A.D., and, later, another and better for the Christians in Italy; but all these were finally superseded by the grand and most important version made by St. Jerome in Latin called the “Vulgate”- that is, the common, or current or accepted version. This was in the fourth century of our era [A.D.]. By the time St. Jerome was born, there was great need of securing a correct and uniform text of Holy Scripture in Latin, for there was danger, through the variety and corrupt conditions of many translations then existing, lest the pure Scripture should be lost. So Jerome, who was a monk, and perhaps the most learned scholar of his day, at the command of Pope St. Damascus in 382 A.D. made a fresh Latin version of the New Testament (which was by this time practically settled), correcting the existing versions by the earliest Greek manuscripts (MSS.) he could find. Then in his cell at Bethlehem, between (approximately) the years 392-404, he also translated the Old Testament into Latin directly from the Hebrew (and not from the Greek Septuagint)-except the Psalter [book of Psalms], which he had previously revised from existing Latin versions. This Bible was the celebrated Vulgate, the official text in the Catholic Church, the value of which all scholars admit to be simply inestimable, and which continued to influence all other versions and to hold the chief place among Christians down to the Reformation. I say the “official” text, because the Council of Trent in 1546 issued a decree stamping it as the only recognized and authoritative version allowed to Catholics. “If anyone does not receive the entire books with all their parts as they are accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church, and in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, as sacred and canonical….let him be anathema.” The Vulgate was revised under Pope Sixtus V in 1590, and again under Pope Clement VIII in 1593, who is responsible for the present standard text. It is from the Vulgate that Our English Douay Version comes; and it is of this same Vulgate that the Commission under Cardinal Gasquet, by command of the Pope, is trying to find or restore the original text as it came from the hands of St. Jerome, uncorrupted by and stripped of subsequent admixtures with other Latin copies.*

*The number of books in the Catholic Bible is counted as 72 or 73 depending on whether “The Lamentations of Jeremias” is considered to be part of Jeremias or a separate book of the Old Testament. – Publisher, 2004.

* This work was begun in the pontificate of Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914) but was not completed and published until 1978. It is known as the “New Vulgate” or “Nova Vulgata” and was promulgated by Pope John Paul II as the “editio typica.” This edition of the Vulgate, however, does not give the hallmark Vulgate rendering of Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmities between Thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Emphasis added.) – Publisher, 2004. (This may have something to do with the reluctance to make public the 3rd secret of Fatima) TradCat4Christ

Taken from Where We Got The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by RT REV HENRY G. GRAHAM I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Some Errors Removed

Now, in order to understand properly the work of the Catholic Church in creating and defending and perpetuating the Holy Scriptures, we must say a few preliminary words as to the human means used in their production, and as to the collecting of the Books of the Bible as we have it at present. There are some common erroneous ideas which we would do well to clear away from our minds at the very outset.

1. To begin with, the Bible did not drop down from Heaven ready-made, as some seem to imagine; it did not suddenly appear upon the earth, carried down from Almighty God by the hand of angel or seraph; but it was written by men like ourselves, who held in their hand pen (or reed) and ink and parchment, and laboriously traced every letter in the original languages of the East. They were divinely inspired certainly, as no others ever have been before or since; nevertheless, they were human beings, men chosen by God for the work, making use of the human instruments that lay to their hand at the time.

2. In the second place we shall do well to remember that the Bible was not written all at once, or by one man, like most other books with which we are acquainted, but that 1500 years elapsed between the writing of Genesis (the first book of the Old Testament) and the Apocalypse or Revelation of St. John (the last Book of the New Testament). It is made up of a collection of different books by different authors, forming, in short, a library instead of a single work, and hence called in Greek, “Biblia,” or “The Books”. If you had lived in the days immediately succeeding the death of Moses, all you would have had given to you to represent the Bible would have been the first five books of the Old Testament, written by that patriarch himself; that was the Bible in embryo, so to speak – the little seed that was to grow subsequently into a great tree, the first stone laid on which was gradually to be erected the beautiful temple of the written Word throughout the centuries that followed. From this we can see that the preacher extolling the Bible as the only comfort and guide of faithful souls was slightly out of his reckoning when he used these words: “Ah, my brethren! What was it that comforted and strengthened Joseph in his dark prison in Egypt? What was it that formed his daily support and meditation? What but that blessed book, the Bible!” As Joseph existed before a line of the Old Testament was penned, and about 1800 years before the first of the New Testament books saw the light, the worthy evangelist was guilty of what we call a slight anachronism.

3. Nor will it be out of place to remark here that the Bible was not written originally in English or Gaelic. Some folks speak as if they believed that the Sacred Books were first composed, and the incomparable Psalms of David set forth, in the sweet English tongue, and that they were afterwards rendered into barbarous language such as Latin or Greek or Hebrew for the sake of inquisitive scholars and critics. This is not correct; the original language, broadly speaking of the Old Testament was Hebrew; that of the New Testament was Greek. Thus our Bibles as we have them today for reading are “translations” – that is, are a rendering or equivalent in English of the original Hebrew and Greek as it came from the pen of Prophet and Apostle and Evangelist. We see this plainly enough in the title page of the Protestant New Testament – which reads “New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, translated out of the original Greek.”

4. A last point must always be kept clearly in mind, for it concerns one of the greatest delusions entertained by Protestants and makes their fierce attacks on Rome appear so silly and irrational – the point, namely, that the Bible, as we have it now, was not printed in any language at all till about 1500 years after the birth of Christ, for the simple reason that there was no such thing as printing known before that date. We have become so accustomed to the use of the printing press that we can scarcely conceive of the ages when the only books known to men were in handwriting; but it is the fact that, has we lived and flourished before Mr. John Gooseflesh discovered the art of printing in the 15th century, we should have had to read our Testaments and our Gospels from the manuscript of monk or friar, from the pages of parchment or vellum or paper covered with the handwriting, sometimes very beautiful and ornamental, of the scribe that had undertaken the slow and laborious task of copying the Sacred Word. Protestants in these days send shiploads of printed Bibles abroad, and scatter thousands of Testaments hither and thither in every direction for the purpose of evangelizing the heathen and converting sinners, and declare that the Bible, and the Bible only, can save men’s souls. What, then, came of those poor souls who lived before the Bible was printed, before it was even written in its present form? How were nations made familiar with the Christian religion and converted to Christianity before the 15th century? Our Divine Lord, I suppose, wished that the unnumbered millions of human creatures born before the year 1500 should believe what He had taught and save their souls and go to Heaven at least as much as those of the 16th and 20th centuries; but how could they do this when they had no Bibles, or were too poor to buy one, or could not understand it even if they could read it? On the Catholic plan (so to call it) of salvation through the teaching of the Church, souls may be saved and people become saints, and believe and do all that Jesus Christ meant them to believe and do – and, as a matter of fact, this has happened – in all countries and in all ages without either the written or the printed Bible, and both before and after it’s production. The Protestant theory, on the contrary, which stakes a man’s salvation on the possession of the Bible, leads to the most flagrant absurdities, imputes to Almighty God a total indifference to the salvation of the countless souls that passed hence to eternity for 1500 years, and indeed ends logically in the blasphemous conclusion that our blessed Lord failed to provide an adequate means of conveying to men in every age the knowledge of His truth. We shall see, as we proceed, the utter impossibility of the survival of Christianity, and of its benefits to humanity, on the principle of “the Bible and the Bible only.” Meanwhile we can account for the fact that intelligent non-Catholics have not awakened to its hollowness and absurdity only by supposing that they do not sufficiently realise, “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” (as the English Prayer Book says) this single item of history: The Bible was not printed till at least 1400 years after Christ.

God Bless BJS!!

Taken from Where We Got The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by RT REV HENRY G. GRAHAM I am not the Author merely the distributor.

Incredible Creed of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

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By Rev. Dr. Rumble, M.S.C.

The Witnesses of Jehovah constitute one of the most vigorous and spectacular religious propagandist bodies of the present day.  Throughout the world an army of persistent enthusiasts tramp from door to door, urging people to adopt their teachings as a matter of life and death.  They claim to have made over a million converts in recent years, chiefly in America; and they have been written up in the “Saturday Evening Post”, “Collier’s Weekly” and the “Reader’s Digest” as a phenomenon of both national and international importance.

This new sect originated in the U.S.A., to which the world owes Mormonism, Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventists, Father Divine, and so many other strange religious outbreaks.  Charles Taze Russell, a draper of Pittsburgh, afterwards known as “Pastor” Russell, was the founder of the movement in 1872.  Nathan Homer Knorr, its present head, prefers to say, “We broke in on the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses” in 1872.  And that leads us to the question of names.

EVOLUTION OF A NAME

No modern movement, in its efforts to establish itself, save perhaps that of the Communists, can rival the Witnesses of Jehovah in the technique of masquerading under ever-changing titles.

Russell began by preaching what he termed the “Millennial Dawn,” and his followers soon became known as “Millennial Dawnists.”  Before long, however, Russell had adopted the title, “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society.”  In 1896 this was changed to “The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.”  In 1909 he thought the “People’s Pulpit Association” sounded better, the headquarters of which he established at Brooklyn, New York.  In 1909 he resumed the title “Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.”  In 1914 the work was being carried on as the “International Bible Students’ Association.”

The same tactics were adopted in the publishing of literature.  In 1919 a magazine, “The Golden Age,” appeared.  In 1937 this same magazine was appearing as “Consolation.”  In 1946 its name was changed to “Awake.”  These constant changes compelled those who had refuted the movement under one name to begin all over again; and whilst they were catching up with current fashions, the Russellites were enabled to gain enough recruits to get firmly established.

At last came their present and apparently permanent name.  In 1931 Judge Rutherford decided that henceforth the “Millennial Dawnists” would be known as the “Witnesses of Jehovah.”

Nathan Knorr now tells us that “Jehovah God is the Founder and Organizer of the Witnesses on this earth,” and that He Himself indicated this as “the appropriate designation of His earthly ministers.”  Surely it is strange that Russell himself, the founder of the movement, had no notion of that!” For Russell died in 1916, fifteen years before this discovery was made.  And whence came the discovery?  In 1931, Judge Rutherford came across the text in Isaiah 43:10, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.”

That Isaiah the prophet had the Russellites in mind over 700 years before Christ is an absurd supposition for which not an atom of proof exists.  Anticipating that difficulty, Nathan Knorr protests, “We have not arbitrarily assumed this God-given name.”  Why not?  “Well, we are witnessing, aren’t we!”  is his reply.  “What we are doing proves that the name is applicable to us.”  But to what are these people witnessing?  Certainly not to the truth revealed by God, as we shall see.  If merely witnessing, no matter to what one witnesses, makes one a messenger of God, then Communists, who are witnesses par excellence with their world-wide propaganda on behalf of Marxian Socialism, have more right than the Russellites to pretend to a divine commission.  But Nathan Knorr just by-passes these difficulties.  “God,” he writes, “has always had His witnesses.  Abel first; then a long line through from Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah to John the Baptist.  Taking pre-eminence over all is Christ ‘the faithful and true Witness,’ Who designated others.  “Ye shall be witnesses to Me unto the uttermost parts of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)  Jehovah’s Witnesses are merely the last of this long line of God’s earthly servants.”

There is, of course, no proof whatever that the Witnesses of Jehovah have any connection with the previous witnesses mentioned.  Moreover, their doctrines are a flagrant contradiction of the teachings of those previous witnesses.

CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL

Charles Taze Russell was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1852, the son of a draper who later established his business in Allegheny.  Charles became an earnest worker in the local Congregational Church, but was soon obsessed with an overwhelming horror of hell and the gloomy prospects of the Calvinist theology of that time held out the mass of humanity.  Charles went about chalking up in all kinds of places warnings of hell for unbelievers; and in 1869, at the age of 17, tried to convert an atheist whom he happened to meet.  But the atheist destroyed Russell’s own faith, and he became an infidel also.  Never again would he believe in hell!

Russell, however, although he had given up attending church, could not leave his Bible alone, and soon he discovered that the could believe in the Bible without believing in hell –  for the simple reason, he says, that the Bible does not teach the existence of hell at all.

At the age of 20 he began preaching this “good news,” and with “no hell” as a most attractive plank in his platform, soon gained followers.  He sold the draper’s business he had inherited from his father, and in 1878 assumed the title of “Pastor Russell,” founding a new religion of his own.

He became a prolific writer, at first borrowing his ideas from the works of J. H. Paton, of Michigan, USA, published under the title of “Day Dawn”.  Russell proclaimed these ideas as his own divinely-inspired doctrines, merely substituting the title “Millennial Dawn” for “Day Dawn” to distinguish his system from Paton’s.  Later he changed to the less recognizable Studies in the Scriptures.

Russell claimed to have written more explanatory books on the Bible than the combined writings of Paul, John, Arius, Waldo, Wycliffe, and Martin Luther, whom he said to have been the six great messengers of the Church preceding himself.  He began, as did the founders of so many other Adventist sects, with the idea that the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment were near at hand; and then ranged over the whole of Sacred Scripture, claiming an infallibility far beyond that claimed by any Pope, as an interpreter of God’s revelation.  His followers accepted him as the “Seventh Messenger” or “Angel” referred to in Ezekiel 9, and held that he would rank next after St. Paul in the “gallery of fame” as an exponent of the Gospel of Christ, the Great Master.

Yet, what kind of a man was this Charles Taze Russell?  He was certainly an expert at making money, whether in the drapery business until he sold it, or by investments in mines and real estate, or by the selling of his books, and of “miracle wheat.”  Unfortunately, he was legally compelled to restore to the purchases the money he had obtained for his miracle wheat, on the score that it had been dishonestly extracted from them.  But honesty was not Pastor Russell’s predominant virtue.  Under oath in court at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 1913, he declared in support of his claims to be an expert Scripture scholar that he knew Greek.  Handed a Greek New Testament, he was forced to admit that he did not know even the Greek alphabet; and that he knew nothing of Hebrew or of Latin, despite his pretensions to a knowledge of those languages also.  Not to know such languages is no crime, of course.  But to make lying pretensions to a knowledge of them is scarcely in keeping with claims to be a prophet of God; whilst to do so under oath is the still worse sin of perjury.

Not less unbecoming in this self-styled prophet was the fact that his wife divorced him in 1897 on charges of adultery with two different women, a stenographer and a housemaid; and that the judge flayed him, after granting the divorce, for his general ill-treatment of his wife.  To avoid payment of the alimony ordered by the court, Russell promptly transferred his property, worth over $240,000, to the “Watch Tower Bible” and “Tract Society.”

Russell died on October 31, 1916, in a Santa Fe train near Pampa, TX on his way to Kansas City; and he is now seldom mentioned by the Witnesses of Jehovah.  This man, once held by his followers to rank next after St. Paul in the “gallery of fame,” has been practically forgotten by the later generation dominated by his successor.

JUDGE J.F. RUTHERFORD

At the time of Russell’s death there was a man named Joseph Franklin Rutherford serving a prison sentence in Atlanta on a charge of sedition during the first world war then raging.” This man, on his release from prison, took over control of the Russellite organization.

Rutherford was born in 1869, and became a lawyer in 1892.  Chosen as attorney for the organization, he was shrewd enough to see its possibilities, and threw in his lot with it.  As president, he wished to be known by the impressive title of “Judge Rutherford,” though he was never officially appointed as a judge.  His forceful personality set the movement definitely on its feet.  He poured out unending books and pamphlets to keep the publishing business going, teaching new doctrines of which Russell had never heard and often quite opposed to what Russell himself had taught.  It was he, as we have seen, who devised in 1931 the new title “Witnesses of Jehovah.”  The prominence he gave to the slogan, “Millions now living will never die,” brought crowds flocking to hear him wherever he was billed to speak.  But, alas, he was not one of the millions fated not to die.

On January 8, 1942, Judge Joseph Franklin Rutherford bade goodbye to this world in the palatial villa he had built at San Diego, CA, as an official residence pending the return of the Lord to judge the living and the dead.

NATHAN HOMER KNORR

On Rutherford’s death, Nathan Homer Knorr was elected as president of the Watch Tower Organization.  Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1905, he was converted to the Russellites at the age of 16 through reading some Watch Tower publications.  In 1923, aged 18, he became a full-time preacher on Sundays, working as a packer and shipper at the Brooklyn headquarters on week-days and devoting his evenings to the study of the Bible as interpreted by Russell and Rutherford.  In 1932 he became general manager of the Brooklyn publishing offices; in 1934 was elected to the Board of Directors; and in 1942 was chosen as successor of Judge Rutherford, in whose place he still reigns supreme.

“THE NEW CHRISTIANITY”

The Witnesses of Jehovah conceive it to be their first duty to denounce all other religious bodies.  Rutherford declared that “religion was introduced into the world by the Devil.”  “For more than three years,” he declaimed, “Jesus continued to proclaim the truth and to warn the people against the practice of religion.”  “For religion,” declared Rutherford, “dishonors and reproaches the name of Jehovah God, whilst Christianity honors and vindicates the name of Almighty God.  This is why true Christians are always persecuted by religionists.”

It is clear from this that Rutherford uses the word religion in a sense all his own.  Asked to define it on one occasion, he said, “Religion is any form of worship practiced by creatures in recognition of some real or supposed ‘higher power,’ and which practice finds support or authority only in the teaching handed down by tradition.”  That the doctrines of Russell and Rutherford are but the teachings of men, to be handed down amongst the Witnesses of Jehovah by tradition does not seem to have occurred to him!

Asked to define Christianity he replies, “Christianity means the worship of Almighty God in spirit and in truth, in accord with the commands of God and teachings of Jesus Christ.  None other are Christians.  There is no such thing as “Christian religion,” because religion and Christianity are exactly opposite and diametrically opposed one to the other.”  Which, of course, is absurd.

Christianity is religion, and is the true religion as opposed to all false religions –  including that of the Witnesses of Jehovah, as will be seen in the course of this document.

HATRED OF OTHER CHURCHES

One of the main duties of the Witnesses of Jehovah seems to be to pour out a torrent of abuse against all Christian Churches, particularly against the Catholic Church.  This, of course, is not a new trick.  Every would-be founder of a new religion has had to commence by denouncing all previous religions, else how justify his new departure at all?  In 1860, just 12 years before Russell thought of it, the Seventh Day Adventists had declared that all Churches except that of the Seventh Day Adventists have been deceived by Satan through the agency of the Papacy into the observance of Sunday.  All of them constitute “Babylon,” and are rejected by God. But this is particularly true of the Catholic Church, presided over by “Antichrist” or the “Beast” in the person of the Pope.

Following this same line, Russell had said that, in 1878, God had rejected all existing Churches, constituting the Russellites as His only spokesmen thenceforward.  But Rutherford did not like the implied admission that the Churches were all right till Russell appeared on the scene.  He declared that, after the resurrection of Christ, the Devil at once set to work and built a great empire, the Papacy.  Later, the Devil inspired the creation of various Protestant Churches –  all of them, including even the Seventh Day Adventists.  All priests and all Protestant clergymen are of the Devil, said Rutherford.  They are enemies of God, and are simply “Antichrist.”  Nathan Knorr tells us that “by 1881 growing differences in basic beliefs had created an immense chasm between the Witnesses and the orthodox Churches.”  The “growing” differences were due to the Russellites inventing new and unheard-of doctrines manufactured by themselves during the period from 1878 to 1881.

If, however, all Churches are to branded as evil, what of the Witnesses themselves?  They meet this difficulty by denying that they are a “Church” or a “Denomination.”  They say they can find no justification for a “Church” or a “Hierarchy” of any kind in the Bible.  That will impress nobody who has any real knowledge and understanding of the contents of the Bible.  For much is there which the Witnesses of Jehovah say they cannot find, whilst much that they claim to find there is not there at all.  But let us see what they have to say of themselves.

They claim to be but the precursors sent by God to warn men of a “Theocratic Kingdom” at present in the making.  And they alone, of all men in this world, belong to that Theocratic Kingdom.

CIVIC DISLOYALTY

Insisting that they owe their sole loyalty to this Theocratic Kingdom, Witnesses of Jehovah refuse the duties of earthly citizenship.  The world, they say, is divided into tow opposed groups, that of the “Theocratic Kingdom,” and that of “Satan’s Organization.”  “Satan’s Organization” includes all Churches and Governments.  And just as amongst the Churches the Papacy is the “Beast” par excellence, so amongst the nations are America and Great Britain.

“In the formation of the Hague World Court of the League of Nations,” wrote Judge Rutherford, “Great Britain and America took the lead, and this is proof that the Anglo-American Empire is the two-horned beast.”  (Light, Vol. II, p. 98)  The “British Israelites” won’t like that, for they claim to have proved from the Bible that Britain and America form between them the chosen people of God!  But we can leave the British Israelites and the Witnesses of Jehovah to settle that matter between themselves.

In the meantime, consistently with their false principles, the Witnesses refuse to salute the flag of any earthly nation, are conscientious objectors to all forms of military service, and say they will fight only for Jehovah and His people –  which means for their own opinions against all who oppose them.

As a consequence of their refusal to fulfill the New Testament admonition, “Be ye subject, therefore, to every human creature for God’s sake; whether to the king as excelling, or to governors sent by him.  Fear God.  Honor the king” (1st Peter 2:13-17), many Witnesses of Jehovah have been fined or jailed, whilst in Australia and New Zealand during 1940 their organization was declared illegal.  The New Zealand Attorney-General said at the time that they were devoting themselves to “vilification of religion, of their fellow-citizens, of the State and of the Government.”

PERSECUTION COMPLEX

The Witnesses complain that they are persecuted for their religious beliefs, quite inconsistently with their denial that their system constitutes a religion.  But in any case their complaint is unjustified.  Small sects get into trouble only when their practices transgress common decency.  If the Witnesses are constantly running afoul of their communities, it is because they themselves make vile and insulting onslaughts on the religion of others, and delight in utterances of the most outrageous civic disloyalty.

“For conscientious cussedness on the grand scale,” wrote America’s Saturday Evening Post, when dealing with this subject, “no other aggregation of Americans is a match for Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Defiance of what others cherish is their daily meat.  They hate all religions –  and say so from the house-tops.  They hate all Governments with an enthusiasm that is equally unconcealed . . . . For being generally offensive they have been getting their heads cracked, their meetings broken up, their meeting-houses pillaged and themselves thrown in jail.

Nathan Knorr argues that the persistence of the Witnesses in spite of severest persecution, mobbings, beatings, tar and feather outrages, imprisonment and even death, is nothing less than miraculous and a sure proof of their divine mission.  That the fanaticism and obstinacy by which he himself would explain the reckless zeal of Mahomet’s followers could apply to the Witnesses themselves does not seem to have occurred to him.  Certainly the same inducements have been held out to them, a deadly fear of a greater evil happening to them should they quail before lesser fears, and magnificent promises of temporal rewards should they die in the cause of the prophets Russell and Rutherford!

A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION

Strangely at variance with their denunciation of all “organized religion,” “Churches,” “hierarchies” and “clergy,” is their own formation of a highly organized and hierarchal religious society by the Witnesses of Jehovah!

Nathan Knorr, in his official contribution to “Religion in the Twentieth Century”, begins the exposition of his system by asserting that no man is leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses, since “Jehovah God has appointed Christ Jesus as their Leader and commander.”  But he declares that Christ directs affairs through a “visible organization” with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

The visible head on earth of this visible organization is Nathan Knorr himself.  He is surrounded by a Board of Directors, as the Pope is surrounded by a College of Cardinals.  Throughout the world there are local congregations called “Companies,” which meet in “Kingdom Halls.”  But each “Company” has “organizational servants” to oversee all activities.  Full time field-workers, aided financially by the Society, are called “Pioneers,” and there are over 6500 of these.  Every active Witness of Jehovah, however, is regarded as “a minister ordained and commissioned by God, not by man,” and must go from house to house selling books in the territory assigned to him by his superior officers.

But if all are ordained, consecrated and commissioned by God, what is this but a hierarchy or an organized sacred body of men with a divinely-given and graded authority?  And how can Witnesses of Jehovah pour scorn on religion and on the clergy of other Churches, yet claim exemption from military service on the plea that they are all “ministers of religion,” as they do?  As for “organized religion,” no Church has a more concentrated government than they.  The Year Book for 1940, page 47, lays down the law:

“Every thirty days each and every branch office in operation on the earth . . . makes a report in writing to the president of the Society, setting forth in detail the work accomplished during the month.  At the end of the fiscal year all branch office . . . will submit to the president in writing a report covering the activities of the Society during the year.

BIG BUSINESS

Mention of the “fiscal year” leads to a consideration of the organization’s business activities.

The attack on “organized religion” comes badly from one of the most highly organized religious societies in the world.  In the same way, never was there such a religious racket as that of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, which declares all other Churches to be “rackets,” engaged in “big business.”

Pastor Russell founded that Society as a worldwide publishing and distributing agency for his own writings; and Judge Rutherford kept it going for the same purpose.  It has become a great money-making concern.  The publishing house at Brooklyn pours out an amazing stream of books, pamphlets and periodicals.  Since World War I, they have distributed more than 485 millions of these in over 80 different languages.

Judge Rutherford said that these books and pamphlets are sold at “a little more than cost price,” and that the “negligible profits” go to the International Bible Students’ Association.  At an average of a penny profit per sale, over two million pounds would have been raked in.  As the average profit would be fourpence or even perhaps sixpence, 10 million pounds profit over the period mentioned would be nearer the mark.  Wisely, the Year Book says that no financial statements are published, as enemies would use them “to hinder the work of the Society.”

One thing is certain.  Despite its vast income, the Society devotes none of its resources to any public works of charity.  Challenged at the American Radio Commission’s inquiry, Secretary Goux, of the Russellites, admitted that their New York property alone was worth over a million dollars, and that he could not say how much the general holdings of the Corporation were worth.  When Mr. Sirovich, assisting the Commission, asked, “Outside of preaching, have you done anything for the poor devils who find themselves economically deprived of a living, and in starvation and hunger, or penury and want?  Have you taken any of that money to help them?”  Goux replied, “That is not the purpose of this activity.  That is not the purpose of this Association.  The commission entrusted to Jehovah’s Witnesses is to bear testimony among the people.

Bearing this testimony, which means distributing Rutherford’s booklets, are 22,304 travelling salesmen called “Publishers,” going from house to house in their assigned districts.  These people, for the most part, work for nothing, being engaged during the week in ordinary secular employment and devoting all their free time to “field service.”  Nathan Knorr explains, “Sincere persons, converted by literature, engage in the work of distribution. 

New converts, on becoming active workers, are given a card of identification to show they are recognized as “ministers of God.”  It’s a psychological phenomenon that so many credulous people can be so duped and conditioned into becoming voluntary agents in such an enterprise.  But nothing succeeds like success.  In 1919, at Cedar Point, Ohio, USA, 8000 Witnesses met in Convention and “girded themselves for publishing work.”  At the same place, 1921, 20,000 Witnesses acclaimed the slogan, “Advertise, Advertise, Advertise the King and the Kingdom.”  In more prosaic words that meant, “Propagate Rutherford’s teachings and sell his books.”  In 1946, at Cleveland, Ohio, USA, 80,000 Witnesses were filled with similar enthusiasm.

In all this, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society never stands to lose.  Voluntary distributors pay for the books they receive; and if they give them away, do so at their own expense.  Many such distributors return, not only the full price of the books, but additional donations from their own earnings in their secular jobs.

A further technical factor contributing to wide sales is that, as the books are offered for a “donation,” and not “sold,” no hawker’s license is necessary, sales are not taxable, and business may be done on Sundays.  It has all been very shrewdly devised.

Of course people have first to be converted to the new religion before they will work for it with such devotedness; and the religion to which they have been converted we must now examine more closely.

“BIBLE-CHRISTIANS”

The Witnesses of Jehovah claim to be “Bible-Christians.”  Nathan Knorr tells us that “the Bible is God’s inspired Word, handed down for those now living in the last days.”  How he knows it to be God’s Word, who handed it down, and why it is for those now living in the “last days” any more than for those who lived in previous ages, are subjects he prefers not to discuss.  All he says is that Charles Taze Russell found “no Christian denomination teaching what the Bible contains,” and therefore “began a thorough study of the Bible, particularly concerning Christ’s Second Coming and Millennial Reign.”

Unfortunately, Pastor Russell, inspired by God if we can believe his first followers, does not seem to have been very successful.  After his death in 1916, Judge Rutherford took over and promptly began to teach doctrines very different from those of Russell.  Internal dissension in the movement followed.  But, writes Nathan Knorr, “Rutherford and the Directors were overwhelmingly supported. The beaten and disgruntled opposition force withdrew and set up an independent organization,” splitting up “into many little groups of no consequence.”

Judge Rutherford, then, remains the supreme prophet of the movement, and his interpretations of the Bible have become the Witness dogmas.  Whilst the Witnesses say that they rely on what the Bible says, they rely on what Judge Rutherford tells them it says.  To the Broadcasting Commission of 1934 Secretary Goux said, on behalf of the organization, that Rutherford’s explanations of the Bible are not human opinions, but inspired by God.  Papal claims to infallibility are indeed mild in comparison with that!

In his explanations of the Bible, Rutherford followed no accepted principles of interpretation, whilst of critical scholarship he knew absolutely nothing.  To support his theories he took any text he pleased, almost at random, and made it mean whatever he wished!

Still, his disciples insist that they are “Bible-Christians.”  They say that, whilst they do not believe in the “Christian Religion,” they do believe in “Christianity.”  They have a way of speaking all their own, which is very difficult to follow; but it will be enough to show that their system contradicts almost every basic Christian teaching.

“JEHOVAH GOD”

One of the first peculiarities met with in this new religion is the strange use of the expression “Jehovah God.”  Nathan Knorr complains that “the masses of Christendom do not even appreciate the fact that “Jehovah” is God’s name.”

But God certainly has not got a name to distinguish Him from other “gods,” as Nathan Knorr himself is distinguished by his first name from others with the same surname!  Nor is even the word “Jehovah” truly Biblical.  The original authors of the Sacred Book knew nothing of it.  They wrote in Hebrew the word Yahweh, which meant literally He who is.  Yahweh, therefore, was an alternative name for God, not a kind of “Christian name” to identify God from among other divinities. “Jehovah God” is an expression found nowhere in the Bible, and is a combination of words grotesque in the extreme.

Again, Judge Rutherford tells us in his book, “Reconciliation,” that the “constellation of the seven stars forming the Pleiades is the place of the eternal throne of God –  the dwelling place of Jehovah.”  What kind of a God is Rutherford’s who dwells on a star?  And how can the Pleiades, themselves not eternal, constitute the eternal throne?

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity Rutherford categorically denies.  “Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advanced” he writes, “than that of the Trinity.  It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil.” “Reconciliation,” (p. 101).  That Christ Himself commissioned His followers to “baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” carries no weight with Rutherford and his disciples.  They have abandoned Christianity for Unitarianism.  Christ for them is not the Eternal Son of God, nor is the Holy Spirit a Divine Person.  Rutherford says that the Holy Spirit is any power or influence exercised by God.  But Christ spoke of the Holy Spirit as Personal. “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, He said, “whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things.” (John 14:26)

But let us look al little more closely at Rutherford’s doctrine about Christ.

CHRIST

One of the most vital questions in the Gospels is, “What think you of Christ?  Whose son is he?” (Matthew 22:42)  Christians have ever replied to that with the unhesitating proclamation of faith, “Son of the Living God.” But not so the Witnesses of Jehovah.

These Witnesses agree that Christ existed before He was born into this world, but say that He was himself only a creature –  the first creature made by God and used as an instrument for the creation of all else.  Russell tells us that he was “Michael the Archangel”!  When, millennia after his creation, this creature became man, his nature was completely changed from angelic and spiritual to material and human.  “In obedience to God, he gave up his spirit-being and was born of Mary as a wholly-human being.”  Apparently that was the end of Michael the Archangel, a fact St. John unfortunately forgot when writing his Apocalypse, for there he has Michael still existing side by side with the Christ into whom Russell declared him to have been transformed!

But let us go on.  When Christ died on the Cross, according to the Witnesses, he was merely a man, and his death was the end of him; completely and absolutely the end.  But a “spirit-being” emerged from the tomb to become “a” god, not “the” God; which apparently was better than being merely Michael the Archangel who had existed in the first place.

This doctrine that Christ was three successive and independent beings: Michael the Archangel, the man Jesus, and the semi-divine king of the new world, is certainly not the Christian doctrine, whatever else it may be.  Most intelligent people will rightly estimate it as fantastic nonsense.

And what becomes of the basic fact in the Christian religion –  the resurrection of Christ?  “If Christ be not risen,” says St. Paul, “then is your faith in vain.” (1st Corinthians 15:17)  The Witnesses of Jehovah deny that he is risen.  “The man Christ,” they say, “is dead forever.”  “The Person who died,” Russell tells us, “remained dead, and he will never be seen again in his human nature.”  What became of his body?  Russell says that no one knows.  He suggests that possibly it was dissolved into gases, or super-naturally removed by God to be preserved until He chooses to produce it as a grand memorial or trophy of Christ’s work.  But it will be only a material corpse.

But we are told not to worry.  If Christ is not risen in the long-accepted Christian sense of the word, he was raised a “spirit-being,” receiving immortality and divinity as a gift from God.  It is all very baffling.  If the “person who died remained dead,” who was the person receiving immortality and divinity?  If God created a new being to enjoy those privileges, then that new being wasn’t Christ but somebody else!  Yet Russell goes on to say that Christ, despite his remaining dead, returned to his disciples after the resurrection in separate “body-appearances” specially created for each occasion!

At the ascension, Russell tells us that Jesus, no longer human, was exalted as a “spirit-being” to the divine nature; and that he remains an invisible spirit, having no longer any connection with our human nature.  But if “the person who died remained dead,” Jesus is not merely no longer human –  he is no longer in existence!  Russell may be able to think in such queer ways, but he has no right to pretend that he is giving to his followers anything like the genuine New Testament doctrine.

“THE SECOND COMING”

Let us turn now to what is really the starting-point of the Russellite system.  It is not without significance that it begins at the end and works backways from that, instead of attempting to follow divine revelation in the order in which God gave it.  For Russell, as we have seen, began by concentrating on Christ’s Second Coming and His “Millennial Reign.”  A theory having been decided upon in that regard, all else had to be distorted to fit in with it.

Russell took over from the Adventists the idea that the end of the world was very near at hand.  By a mysterious process of mathematical calculation from the prophecies, he “discovered” that the Second Coming of Christ actually took place in 1874.  If people had not the slightest idea of this, it was because they had been led astray by Acts 1:11: “This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven shall so come, as you have seen Him going.” Russell says that the Apostles did not see Him going, for He went invisibly as a spirit.  And, in 1874, He returned invisibly as a spirit.  But not yet to this earth.  He returned only to the “upper air.”  In 1878, Russell further discovered, the apostles and other members of the “little flock,” a favored few, were raised to meet the Lord, and they are hovering about with Him also in the “upper air.”

In 1914, because that was 2520 years after the defeat of Zedekiah in 606 B.C., there came the “end of the times of the Gentiles.”  In that year, we are told, Satan began to wage a ferocious war against Christ and the saints in the “upper air,” and simultaneously “nation rose against nation” on earth in the first world-war.

Russell firmly believed that 1914 would mean the great final battle of Armageddon, the end of the world as we know it, the descent of Christ from the “upper air,” and His enthronement as King on earth for a Millennium –  after which thousand years the Final Judgment would take place.

When that did not happen, the Witnesses of Jehovah, undismayed by failure, moved the event up several times to 1916, 1918, 1924, 1928, etc., until Judge Rutherford hit on the ingenious explanation that the Second Coming (to the “upper air”) took place as Russell had said in 1874. Christ was enthroned as King (in the “upper air”) in 1914; and in that year, juridically at least, the world as we know it came to an end.  In fact, and literally, the final destruction of all earthly kingdoms and Churches in the great final battle of Armageddon has been postponed –  until the Witnesses of Jehovah have completed their work of proclaiming the good news of Christ’s enthronement and of warning all nations of the impending catastrophe!

Here we see again almost the same tactics as those adopted by the Seventh Day Adventists.  William Miller, the Adventist, had calculated that the Second Coming of Christ would occur on 21 March 1843.  When that failed, he said that 21 March 1844 was the correct date.  He had merely made a slight mistake in his calculations.  When that also failed, he moved the date forward to 22 October 1844.  But, alas, nothing happened.  Then there arose an Adventist named Hiram Edson, who had it “divinely revealed” to him that Christ did come on the last date after all, but not by returning to this world.  On that date, He entered a “heavenly sanctuary” to begin investigating the records of all mankind, to find out who were good and who were evil.  Mrs. Ellen G. White, the accepted prophetess of the movement, then discovered that as soon as Christ has finished auditing the books in the “heavenly sanctuary,” He will descend to earth to execute judgment –  and that will take place any moment now!

Rutherford working on the same lines, refuses to say just when God will decide that the Witnesses of Jehovah have completed their witness-work –  but it will be any moment now!  He even went so far as to insist that it would be within the lifetime of his own generation.  Hence his slogan, “Millions now Living will never Die.”

It is of little use to draw the attention of Witnesses of Jehovah to the series of failures in the predictions of their inspired prophets.  When the end of the world did not come on schedule, and Russell died in 1916 instead of living to see it, as he expected, Rutherford offered his followers the consoling thought that, as Ezekiel was dumb for a year, five month and twenty-six days, so a similar period after the dumbness of Russell in death might elapse before the end.  Twenty-six years elapsed, and then Rutherford himself died in 1942, instead of remaining among the millions who would live to see the end.

But petty details like that cannot avail with the Witnesses of Jehovah against the whole magnificent scheme in which all others are to receive a fearful drubbing whilst they themselves are to be preserved from harm and elevated to eternal bliss as co-rulers of the world with Christ!

ARMAGEDDON

The battle of Armageddon, which Witnesses of Jehovah interpret literally with no allowance for apocalyptic symbolism, will begin any moment now, despite its having been unaccountably delayed for nearly forty years.  The trouble is, apparently, that Satan has not yet had sufficient time to increase all the woes to the intense degree predicted by Scripture for the transition period.

However, the signs of the times obviously indicate that the full measure has been practically attained.  Christ, with His hosts, will soon descend from the “upper air,” and in a great cataclysms the whole world will be cleansed of all wickedness and evil-doers, safety from which will be found only in God’s organization –  that of the Witnesses of Jehovah.  And what then?

THE MILLENNIUM

In the Book of the Revelation (Apocalypse) 20:6, St. John speaks of Christ reigning for “a thousand years.”  The true interpretation of that expression, in keeping with the whole character of the Book, must be symbolically and not literal or numerical.  It means simply “for a long period,” and refers to the whole interval between the birth of Christ into this world and His Second Coming to judge the living and the dead.

Russell and Rutherford, however, won’t have that.  They take the Millennium literally, and declare that the Second Coming of Christ will precede it.  When Christ comes again, it will be reign for exactly a thousand years on this earth; and then will come the Final Judgment.  There is a slight confusion as to dates.  Some Witnesses say that since Christ came again in 1874, the Final Judgment will be in the year 2874; but other say no, and that the period will be from 1914 till 2914.

Russell apparently held that there are to be seven millennia.  The year 1874, according to him, was the exact 6000th year from Adam’s creation.  That geologists have discovered human remains belonging to the Neolithic and Paleolithic Ages, dating back to at least 20,000 years ago, was unknown to him, and would not have worried him had he known of it.  For he allowed no evidence of any kind to interfere with his theories.  There had to be six millennia to correspond with the six “working-days” of creation; and there had to be a seventh as the “Sabbath” of millennia, and the last of them.

Since the Lord has already returned –  invisibly –  He is even now ruling the world in the “Millennial Reign,” and using the Witnesses to publish the fact.  The “Theocratic Kingdom” has arrived.  But the fullness of Christ’s reign cannot come until after Armageddon, the battle between Christ and His enemies, which has been so unaccountably delayed.

After Armageddon, according to Russell, all the dead who have ever lived will be raised to life and be given a second probationary period under much more favorable conditions, with Satan bound and a continual evangelistic campaign to help them to make the right choice.

Even on the basis of 6000 years of history wrongly held by Russell, this would mean over 250 million millions of people on this earth simultaneously, covering it so thickly that not all would be able to sit down together!  Russell’s successors, having had their attention drawn to the absurdity of this, now say that not all who have ever lived will return, but only those “faithful ones” who were not so incorrigibly wicked as to forfeit any claim to a second chance.  The latter will just remain in their state of annihilation.

DENIAL OF IMMORTALITY

The doctrine of annihilation at death leads to the problem of the nature of the human soul.  According to Russell and his followers, man has not “got” a soul; he “is” a soul.  And his soul is his body.  When a man’s body dies, his soul just ceases to be.  There is no spiritual soul, immortal of its very nature.  “Death,” says Russell, “means total annihilation.  There are no souls anywhere awaiting a resurrection.  No human being who has ever lived and died exists any longer.

Russell was not impressed by any of the references in Scripture to the living reality of the Patriarchs and Prophets after death, such as Abraham, Moses, Elias, Samuel and others.  When confronted with the words of Christ to the dying thief, “Amen, I say to thee –  this day thou shalt be with me in paradise,” he said that the proper Greek reading of the text is, “Amen, I say to thee this day –  thou shalt be with me in paradise.” With all the Greek scholars of the world against him, this man who did not know even the Greek alphabet, tells us that the Greek meant that!

But on Russell’s own principles, how can he hold that there will ever be a resurrection of anybody?  There’s nobody to resurrect!  Resurrection does not mean extinction and re-creation.  Completely non-existent beings cannot receive bodies as before.  If the dead are completely out of existence, any newly existent beings will be completely different beings, and not those who previously lived at all!

Yet Nathan Knorr, instead of saying, “Since Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in resurrection, they believe man possess an immortal soul,” inconsequently says just the opposite.  He argues that precisely because they believe in resurrection, they do not believe man possess an immortal soul!  However, though we won’t exist to come back, according to the doctrines of the Witnesses of Jehovah, we are all going to come back to have our second chance during the Millennium –  unless, of course, we are among the “millions now living who will never die.”

THE SECOND CHANCE

During the “Millennium,” then, in the “Theocratic Kingdom,” men will again be offered eternal life, on the terms of the New Covenant.  This life is not our only probation.  Despite the fact that nowhere in the Bible is hope held out for any further probation after death; despite the express teaching of Scripture that “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); despite the evident finality of Our Lord’s warning, “This night thy soul will be required of thee” (Luke 12:20), the Witnesses tell us that we are to have our lives all over again, and that nothing that took place in this life is going to count.  All will depend on the way we behave under the much better millennial conditions.

As the “Millennium” has already commenced, one would think we should be living under those conditions now!  But things haven’t been running to timetable.  However, as soon as the Witnesses of Jehovah have sufficiently witnessed, Armageddon will be upon us, the resurrection of the dead will take place, and all men will be able to try again.

JUDGMENT

At the end of the Millennium, in 2874 or 2914, will come the Final Judgment.  God will then establish His new world of righteousness, and completely vindicate His name.  Satan, who has been imprisoned for the thousand years, will be let out to spread evil by crafty means.  All will then be tempted and tested.

Those who survive successfully this final testing will be divided into two classes.

The first class, called the “Consecrated Class,” or the “Overcoming Class,” will be a “little flock,” limited to 144,000, as declared in the Book of Revelation.  These will go as spirit-beings to the upper air, to live and reign with Christ the divine in a kingdom not of this world.  They will have “inherent” life, eternal, and emancipated from the necessity of all food and nourishment.  Needless to say, these will all be Witnesses of Jehovah, though which Witnesses of Jehovah will share this “heavenly glory” with Christ is an anxiety to the more than a million present members of the organization!

The second class will consist of all the rest of the saved.  These will be left in that flesh and blood which cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  This earth will be their eternal home.  “The righteous rule of the heavenly Kingdom,” writes Nathan Knorr, “will descend earthward and effect the answer to the prayer:  Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”  The saved on earth will constitute the “other sheep” as opposed to the “little flock” in the heavenly places.  They will fulfill God’s plan to extend Edenic conditions earth-wide, and have it inhabited by a righteous race of men and women; and in them will be fulfilled God’s promise of the earth to the meek, to be their inheritance.  These will not have “inherent” life, but will live on earth’s food supply in everlasting peace, free from war, oppression, sickness and death.  And they will increase and multiply and populate the earth.  What will result from a constant multiplication of human beings in this world, with no one ever dying, can only be left to the reader’s imagination!

And what of those who do not survive successfully their final testing?  They will be annihilated, together with the Devil and all his angels.  The Witnesses of Jehovah deny all suffering in another life.  The dead, they say, are non-existent; therefore there is no purgatory.  At the Final Judgment, the willfully wicked will be exterminated; therefore there’s no hell.  When the Bible speaks of hell, according to them, it merely means the grave.  Any hell of eternal punishment is just a myth.

SECRET OF SUCCESS

This brief glance at the inconsistent and almost incoherent system of religion invented by Pastor Russell and amplified and altered in many ways by Judge Rutherford, leaves on wondering how it manages to thrive.  Witnesses of Jehovah will say that the fact of its growth surely argues to its truth.  But other sects with totally different doctrines, yet of similar expansion, would have to be admitted as true on that score.  So we must look elsewhere for an explanation.

Firstly, it must not be overlooked that the Witnesses of Jehovah make their appeal chiefly to professing Christians who have drifted from their Churches, and who know little or nothing of Christian doctrine.  When these people hear the Churches they have forsaken denounced, they find quite a consolation in the thought that, not they themselves, but the “Churches” are to blame for their neglect of religion.  Their lingering attachment to a vague Christian sentiment then makes then listen sympathetically to claims by agents of the “International Bible Students’ Association” that what is needed is a return to Bible Christianity.  And they know so little of their religion that they fail to realize how opposed to the teachings of Christ is the mockery of the Bible put before them by the Witnesses in the name of “truth.”

Secondly, among such lapsed Christians, besides ignorance, credulity and superstition are very prevalent.  Figures from the Department of Justice in USA indicate that less than one per cent of the Witnesses of Jehovah have had a secondary education, whilst fifteen per cent have had less than a normal primary education.  Credulity and superstition have moved them to accept on the authority of Charles Taze Russell and Judge Joseph Franklin Rutherford what has been put before them.

Thirdly, for this they were disposed by world conditions, their own uneasy conscience, and their innate pride.  One of the greatest assets of the Witnesses of Jehovah has been the failure of scientific progress to produce Utopia.  The world’s poverty and insecurity have made many of the poorer classes clutch at the idea of the early return of Christ, with an ensuing peace and security.  Their own uneasy conscience over the neglect of their duties to God has been consoled by the new doctrine that there is no hell.  Ingersoll, it is true, had denounced the idea of hell.  But he was an infidel, and could scarcely be trusted.  Yet here were teachers from God assuring them in the name of religion that hell does not exist.  Such an assurance could not fail to appeal to such people.

Meantime, the constant repetition of extravagant threats about the fearful fate soon to overtake Christendom, to escape which one had only to become a Witness of Jehovah and devote oneself to selling booklets, had an additional effect.  It is a fact that the atom-bomb scare in America has given a new boost to the Witnesses of Jehovah, many people imagining the end of the world and Armageddon to be really at hand.

Nor must we overlook the subtle appeal to pride and covetousness; the pride of knowing, like the Gnostics of old, esoteric and occult doctrines which the greatest of Christian theologians have failed to grasp; the pride of becoming masters of the world, triumphing like a kind of religious proletariat over the religious capitalists who remained faithful to the spiritual treasures they themselves have forsaken.

These and many other reasons account for conversion to the Witnesses of Jehovah.  Truth certainly does not.

ESTIMATE

What must be our estimate, then, of this new religion?  Can we regard it as other than an absurd, false, blasphemous and extremely dangerous travesty of Christianity?

The absurdity of the whole sorry scheme, so utterly unworthy of an infinitely wise Creator, is surely self-evident.  The predications of Russell and Rutherford, the self-appointed prophets of the movement, have been proved false over and over again, compelling them to have recourse to subterfuge after subterfuge.  For the Creeds of Christendom, embodying the “faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), we are given a new creed, one of deadly novelties and fallacies.  The doctrines of the Holy Trinity, of the Divinity of Christ, of the Personality of the Holy Spirit, of the bodily resurrection of Christ, and of the Church as established by Him are all blatantly denied.  The New Testament teaching about the Eucharist and the Sacraments is ignored as if it did not so much as exist.  The immortality of the human soul is rejected.

The positive doctrines of this freak religion –  for thus only can it be rightly described –  are ridiculous in the extreme.  What reasonable person could believe that Christ, though He did not rise from the dead, was supplanted by some newly created “spirit-being” who as “a” god, but not “the” God, and who returned to the “upper air” of this world, there to be enthroned as King, in 1874!  Who could believe that there He –  or this substitute being –  is waiting until the Witnesses have witnessed sufficiently to His plans, when he will descend for the great final battle of Armageddon and for a millennial reign of a thousand years on this earth, after which He will turn this earth into an eternal, material paradise!

Spiritually, the whole system is utterly bankrupt.  One will read through the whole flood of literature published by this Russell-Rutherford organization without finding any inculcation of the basic Christian virtues of humility, of repentance of sin, or of charity.  No genuine love of God or of one’s neighbor finds expression there.  There is no emphasis on character-building, on self-conquest, on the necessity of taking up one’s cross and following Christ Our Lord.  The supreme message of this caricature of Christianity is “Read, believe, and sell Russell’s and Rutherford’s books, speak of God as ‘Jehovah’ and of all Churches and Governments as ‘Antichrist’ –  this do, and thou shalt be saved!”

The very doctrine of this system, that people can sin with impunity in this life, cannot but encourage wickedness, immorality and depravity.  “God never punishes, either in this life nor in the next,” declared Russell; despite the fact that the law of retribution is insisted upon all through Sacred Scripture.  However badly people behave in this life, according to the Witnesses of Jehovah, it does not really matter, since our moral choices now have no effect whatever upon our eternal future.  All are annihilated at death, and there’s no purgatory, no hell.  If, as Russell says, all are to be raised again and given a second chance, everything will depend on how we behave then, not on how we behave now.  Witnesses of Jehovah even say that the more wicked a man has been in this life, the more likely he is to make good in the next!  And even if he doesn’t, he will merely be put painlessly out of existence, to experience no future evil consequences whatever of his contemptuous defiance of God.

No one who retains any real respect for Holy Scripture, for God, for Christ, for his fellow-men, for his own human dignity and intelligence, can do anything but reject utterly this counterfeit religion invented by Russell and Rutherford, and so pathetically propagated by their deluded Witnesses of Jehovah.

NIHIL OBSTAT: W. M. Collins, Censor Dioc.

IMPRIMATUR: D. Mannix, Archiepiscopus Melbournensis

Copyright 1974 by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc.

Originally published by Fathers Rumble and Carty Radio Replies Press, Inc.
St. Paul, Minn., U.S.A.

A Terrible Warning

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In 1984, just before retiring at a venerable age, the diocesan Bishop of Niigata, Bishop John Shojiro Ito, in consulation with the Holy See, wrote a pastoral letter in which he recognized as being authentically of the Mother of God, the extraordinary series of events that had taken place from 1973 to 1981 in a little lay convent within his diocese, at Akita Japan. Hence in Akita we are dealing with a Church approved intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary as sure in this respect as Lourdes or La Salette or Fatima.

The message of Akita, authenticated by Bishop Ito, is a continuation of Fatima. The chastisement threatened is truly terrible – far worse that the possibility of annihilation of several nations prophesied at Fatima. Akita is absolutely consistent with prophecies of Scripture.

The first message received by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa on June 6, 1973 was a call for prayer and sacrifice for the glory of the Father and salvation of souls. The second message,  August 3, 1973, was for prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices to soften the Father’s anger.

The third message on October 13, 1973, the actual anniversary of the final visions and miracle of Fatima is as follows; “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day, recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the pope, the bishops, and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by the Confreres. The Church will be full of those who accept comprises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”

“The demon will rage especially against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them.”

In his pastoral letter approving the events of Akita as supernatural, the Bishop of Niigata said: “After the inquiries conducted up to the present day, one cannot deny the supernatural character of a series of unexplainable events relative to the statue of the Virgin honored at Akita (Diocese of Niigata). Consequently, I authorize that all of the diocese entrusted to me venerate the Holy Mother of Akita.”

Concerning the messages, His Excellency said: “As for the content of the messages received, it is no way contrary to Catholic doctrine or to good morals. When one thinks of the actual state of the world, the warning seems to correspond to it in many points.” His Excellency explained that he had taken eight years to give this judgement because of the importance and the responsibility in question. “The Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith has given me directives in this sense,” the Bishop said, “that only the Bishop of the diocese in question has the power to recognize an event of this kind.”

The events of Akita have been confirmed by definite miracles, two of which are cited by the Bishop in his pastoral letter. While the warning given by Our Lady at Akita is terrible, the message, as the Bishop points out , is basically a repetition of the Message of Fatima. Our Lady stressed the importance of praying the Rosary, and above all of accepting from God whatever He may send in the course of each day…whatever suffering…and to offer it up in a reparation for so many sins committed throughout the world at this time. Our Lady begged especially for prayers for bishops, priests, and religious, and for reparation before the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lady said: “I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering to the Father, together with all the victim souls who console Him, the sufferings endured by the Son on the Cross, by His Blood and by His very loving Soul. Prayer, penance, and courageous sacrifices can appease the anger of the Father.”

To the little religious community where Our Lady gave the messages, she asked that it “live in poverty, sanctity itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and the outrages of so many men.”

The apparitions and events in Akita, Japan, center around a three foot high statue of Our Lady with a Japanese face in the chapel of the Eucharisitic Handmaids of the Sacred Heart. These supernatural happenings involve Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, one of the Sisters in the convent, to whom Our Lady gave Her messages. Sister had been very ill, requiring about 20 operations. When the apparitions began, she was nearly deaf. On June 12, 1973, when she opened the tabernacle for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a very strong light came from it and filled the entire chapel. This happened for three days. When Sister asked the other Sisters if they had seen anything out of the ordinary, they said no.

This strong light also came from the tabernacle on the feast of Corpus Christi. When Sr. Sasagawa told the Bishop of Akita (who was visiting the convent on the feast) of this, he advised her to keep it in her heart. On the Vigil of the Feast of the Sacred Heart that same year, Sr. Sasagawa’s guardian angel appeared to her and asked her to pray the Fatima decade prayer after each decade of the Rosary. In 1973 this prayer was not well known in Japan, and Sister had trouble understanding it. But the Sisters began to recite the prayer and it has now spread throughout Japan.

On the same occasion as the apparition of her guardian angel, a wound in the form of a cross appeared in the hollow of Sr. Sasagawa’s left hand and began to bleed. The bleeding ended on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The following Friday, the wound bled and stopped the next day. This continued for a month. Sister’s guardian angel later spoke to her in chapel. Although nearly deaf, she heard the angel saying: “Pray not only for yourself, but for the people of all nations. The world today is wounding the Sacred Heart of Jesus through so much sin and ingratitude.” After hearing this, Sister heard a voice come from the statue in the chapel: “My daughter, you obeyed me very well, you have renounced everything. This deafness is a great suffering for you. Have patience, you will be healed. It is a trial. Pray in reparation for all people. Pray much for the Holy Father, for the bishops and for priests.”

On July 6, 1973, a bleeding wound appeared on the right hand of the statue of Our Lady in the chapel. On other days, the face of the statue bled. Sister’s guardian angel told her: “This flowing of blood is significant. It will be shed for the conversion of men and in reparation for sins. To the devotion of the Sacred Heart add the devotion to the Precious Blood.” Other messages followed. About a month after seeing the wound in the right hand of Our Lady’s statue, Sr. Sasagawa heard: “My daughter, if you love Our Lord, listen to me. Many people in the world grieve Our Lord. I ask for souls who will console Him, and who will make reparation. The Heavenly Father is preparing a great punishment for the world. Many times I have tried with my Son to soften the anger of the Father. I presented to Him many atoning souls who make reparation by prayers and sacrifices. That is what I ask of you. Honor poverty. Live poorly. You must keep your vows, which are like three nails to nail you to the Cross – the nail of poverty, chastity and obedience.”

Beginning on September 20, 1973, the statue began to sweat from the face to the feet. Tears began to flow down the face. Also, a very pleasant odor was felt in the chapel. This happened many times in the presence of others, including the Bishop. In all, the statue wept a total of 101 times. On October 13, 1973, there was a serious message. “As I said before,” Our Lady said, “if mankind does not repent, the Heavenly Father will inflict a very serious punishment on the whole world; a punishment the likes of which has never happened before. Many people will perish. Pray the Rosary often. Only I can prevent the disaster. Whoever entrusts themselves to me will be saved.” The statue continued to weep and other messages followed. Pilgrims came and many received answers to their prayers. Then, in 1981, Theresa Chon, who was suffering from terminal brain cancer, was miraculously healed through the intercession of Our Lady of Akita. This healing was well documented by Fr. Joseph Oh of Seoul, S. Korea.

In his pastoral letter, Bishop Ito said that it would have been difficult to believe in a message from Our Lady that is so terrible, unless there was overwhelming proof that it was indeed from Her. But he points out that the terrible chastisement of which Our Lady speaks is on the condition: “If men do not repent and do not better themselves…” The Bishop added it is a serious warning, while at the same time one perceives in it the maternal love of Our Lady. In Her message warning the world of the annihilation of a great part of humanity, She said: “The thought of the loss of numerous souls makes me sad.”

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How do we repent and better ourselves? Repentance is a “sorrow of heart and detestation for sin committed with the resolution not to sin again.” (Trent.sess.xiv,cap.4). Once mortal sin has been committed, an act of contrition is necessary for salvation (this is of faith from Scripture and Tradition). To be effective contrition must be genuine, must comprise all mortal sin committed, must spring from a motive that has reference to God and include a hatred of sin as the greatest of evils (this is the common teaching of theologians). Contrition is termed perfect when it arises from the pure love of God; by perfect contrition, sin is forgiven even before it is manifested in the sacrament of Penance, though the obligation of confession remains. What are the sins most prevalent today which are calling down God’s wrath upon us? We see wholesale violations of the first three Commandments. The first Commandment: I am the Lord Thy God, thou shall not have strange God’s before me.” In summary, we find in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X and the Baltimore Catechism, that the First Commandment forbids idolatry, superstitution, spiritism, tempting God, sacrilege and sins against Faith. The Catechism then asks “How does a Catholic sin against Faith?” Answer: “A Catholic sins against Faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism and by taking part in non-Catholic worship! This, indeed, is a powerful indictment against the present ecumenical practice that has swept through and disfigured the Church since the 2nd Vatican Council.

The Second Commandment forbids using the Lord’s Name in vain (blasphemy). If we consult the Catechism of the Council of Trent’ s treatment of the Second Commandment, it teaches that those who support heresy, and “distort the Sacred Scriptures from their genuine and true meaning,” are guilty of sins against the Second Commandment. Thus, those who distort the meaning of Scripture, namely Protestants, are, in the objective order, guilty of this sin, because their perversion of Sacred Scripture is an irreverence to the Holy Word of God.

The Third Commandment deals with keeping holy the Sabbath Day. It is evident for all to see that Sunday has become a day of business as usual. People doing unnecessary work, places of business opened with people shopping without any regard to the Third Commandment which strictly forbids all unnecessary work and doing business on Sunday.

The Fifth Commandment: Thou shall not kill. We see a blatant disregard for this Commandment in the slaughter of some 3500 babies every day by Abortion with very, very few doing anything to bring about an end to this human carnage.

Now we come to the Sixth Commandment, which violation causes more souls to go to Hell than any of the other Ten Commandments. The Sixth Commandment is transgressed by Divorce which leads to adultery when either of the two spouses remarry. (Mark 10:11, 12) (Matt. 19:6) (Cor. 7:10, 11), Fornication, Homosexuality or Sodomy. (Rom. 1:27) (2nd Peter 2:6) (St. Jude 1:7). We see the Sixth Commandment horribly violated by immodest dress. Modesty and purity have practicality vanished from our society. (1 Tim.2:9-10)

This impending chastisement can be averted if enough people pray the Rosary daily and do penance which Our Lady requested at Fatima in 1917.

Our Lady of the Rosary Library http://www.olrl.org

God Bless BJS!!

Ecclesiastical Materialism

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Introduction. From the title, one might expect that I would be writing about avarice among the clergy. I am not addressing that at all, however. Recently I received from an old friend, who is a Novus Ordo conservative, a note in which he invited me to come back “to Rome — and the true Church — outside of which there is no salvation.”

His invitation, although made with all good intentions, nevertheless prompted me to write this response. What he means is that I should give up my repudiation of Vatican II and its subsequent reforms, submit to the local bishop, and be somehow “regularized” within the structures of the Novus Ordo.

First response. My first response is the
following. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that there is one true Church of Christ, and only one, which is the Roman Catholic Church. The Novus
Ordo teaches that the Church of Christ merely “subsists in” the Catholic Church. (Lumen Gentium)

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that outside of the Roman Catholic Church there is no salvation. The
Novus Ordo teaches that outside the Roman Catholic Church there is salvation, namely that non-Catholic
religions are means of salvation. (Decree on Ecumenism,
Catechesi Tradendæ of John Paul II)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns religious liberty. The Novus Ordo teaches religious liberty. (Decree on
Religious Liberty)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns the idea that the college of bishops has
supreme jurisdiction over the whole Church. The Novus Ordo teaches this condemned doctrine, known as collegiality. (Lumen Gentium)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns adultery and fornication in all
cases. The Novus Ordo teaches that these are morally acceptable in certain cases. (Amoris Lætitia)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns as a mortal sin of sacrilege the giving the Holy Eucharist to non- Catholics. The Novus Ordo approves of it. (1983 Code of Canon Law)

The Roman Catholic Church condemns the use of birth control devices as mortally sinful and intrinsically evil. The Novus Ordo permits birth control devices for prostitutes. (Ratzinger,
“Benedict XVI,” in a published interview)

What I have responded above is only a smattering of the myriad dogmatic, moral, liturgical, and disciplinary contradictions between the Roman
Catholic Church and what we call the Novus Ordo. We could provide the endless list of heresies and blasphemies of Bergoglio. But these things are well known.

The four marks of the Church. I will add to this first response the four marks of the Church.

(1) The Roman Catholic Church is one in faith, that is, in order to be Catholic all must profess the same dogmatic and moral teachings which are taught by the
Roman Catholic Church. The Novus Ordo has no unity of faith, and as we have seen, has no continuity with the Catholic past in any of the essential aspects of the Church’s unity.

(2) The Roman Catholic Church
is catholic, that is, universal, since it preaches a single doctrine to the whole world. Since the Novus Ordo lacks unity in doctrine, and lacks continuity with the
Church’s past in matters of doctrine, it cannot have the mark of catholicity. For catholicity presupposes unity.

(3) The Roman Catholic Church is holy. The Novus Ordo is unholy, because it condones evil disciplines, preaches condemned doctrines and heresies, leads people into error and sin, and promotes the evil New Mass, promotes abominable ecumenical acts with non-Catholic religions, and condones
sacrilegious liturgical practices.

(4) The Roman Catholic Church is apostolic. The Novus Ordo has abandoned apostolic doctrine and discipline, and teaches and does what is contrary to this sacred apostolic deposit.

Come back to what?

My friend’s invitation makes it sound as if the Catholic religion is intact in the institutions he wants me to embrace. It is as if it is the year 1950, and that I have wandered off into schism because of my pride. If this were true, I would return immediately. But there is an elephant in the room.

The elephant is this: The Novus Ordo is innovation, is heresy, is alien to the religion revealed by God and taught by the Roman Catholic Church.

It is as much a break with the past as the heresy of Martin Luther was. What is different, however, between Martin
Luther and the Novus Ordo? There is this significant difference: Martin Luther was excommunicated and subsequently founded his own church.

The Novus Ordites have never been excommunicated, and have never founded their own church. This difference is the key to understanding the present problems in the Catholic
Church.

Ecclesiastical materialism. Now I will explain ecclesiastical materialism. The Roman Catholic Church has a visible aspect and an invisible aspect. What is visible is the external profession of faith, the administration of the sacraments, and the visible government. What is invisible is the grace and assistance of the Holy Ghost which infuses the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, the authority to govern, and the indelible character on the soul in Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.

The Holy Ghost, furthermore, assists the Church by an invisible influence in its promulgation of doctrine, morals, liturgy, and discipline, in such a way that these things are free from error. It is this invisible assistance which guarantees the infallibility and indefectibility of the
Church.
All of these qualities are invisible, but are nonetheless what make the Catholic Church the one, true Church of Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation. These invisible qualities have made the Catholic Church for two thousand years the unchanging, permanent, always consistent and coherent institution of divine truth in a sinful, ignorant, and ever-fluctuating world.

Even the administration of the sacraments has an external and internal aspect. The external aspect is the visible rite itself. The internal aspect is the validity of the sacrament, whereby it confers the grace it signifies. It is therefore possible that the external rite be observed and administered, even
though, through some internal and invisible defect, the sacrament is not valid.

In our discussion here, we are saying that what is left of the authority of the Church in the Novus Ordo is merely the material or visible aspect of authority,
that is, persons designated to receive authority. What is lacking to them is the divine authority, and the divine assistance which necessarily accompanies it.
Body and soul. Just as the soul is the life of the body, so it is authority which gives life, so to speak, to the person who is designated to be pope or bishop. It is to say that a mere election or appointment is not sufficient. The authority must come to him from Christ, the Invisible Head of the Church, in order that
he be a true pope or a true bishop.

This authority is transferred only on condition that the designated person have the intention of promoting the objective and proper ends of the institution over which he is placed. It is for this reason that the president-elect of
the United States does not obtain power in November
when he is merely elected, but in January when he is inaugurated, and only on condition of swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States. He must swear that he intends to lead the country to its
objective and proper ends. Were he to fail to so swear, he would fail to obtain the power, and would remain a president-elect, a president only materially, until such time as the Congress removed the election from him.

What has happened to the Church since 1958.
What we are facing in the Novus Ordo is this: Modernists, by remaining secretive for decades, managed to obtain by the normal and legal process of appointment and designation, a position in the Church to which authority is normally connected. So John XXIII was elected pope in 1958. By a defect, however, the authority, which is invisible and which is given byChrist the Head of the Church, was never transferred to John XXIII and his successors. What was this defect? It is that they intended to pervert the Church, and to lead it in a direction contrary to its nature and purpose given to it by God. In a word, they wanted to
transform the structures and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church into a huge vehicle of their
Modernism. This evil intention is what has blocked the flow of authority from Christ into them. Without this authority they remain non-popes, false popes.

The bishops who have embraced this perversion of Catholicism are also false bishops for the same reason.
That the authority of Christ and the assistance of the Holy Ghost are lacking can be seen from the
Hiroshima effect of Vatican II.

The Novus Ordo religion — essentially Modernism — has wrecked all of the institutions of the Catholic Church. What is left is only a lifeless shell of these institutions. There are the same physical buildings. There are the same
institutions of government. There is still a functioning Vatican. There is still a diocesan bishop. There is still a chancery. There are pastors appointed.
There are functioning parishes. There are rectors of seminaries, the few that are left.

What we are seeing here, however, is merely a carcass of the Church’s authority. It is something like
a dead whale which has washed up on the shore. These institutions, both the buildings and the government, constitute, from a purely material and
visible point a view, a continuity with the past. Internally and invisibly, however, they are full of doctrinal, moral, liturgical, and disciplinary
corruption. The stench of death rises from them, that is, the stench of heresy and all of its effects.

Everything is infected with gangrene: the Mass, the rites of the sacraments, the catechism, doctrine, morals, attitudes. We see the effects of this infection, as well, in the emptying of the seminaries, convents and religious houses of all kinds, in the breathtaking
decline of religious belief and practice, especially among the young, in the nauseating and disgusting conduct of the clergy, even to the point of sodomitic orgies in the Vatican, enhanced with both drugs and liquor, which recently took place, and was reported in the major newspapers, e.g., the London Times.

The Novus Ordo popes, consequently, are mere “cadavers” of real popes, inasmuch as they sit in the chair of Peter, wear the uniform of a pope, but have no power from Christ to teach, rule and sanctify in His name.

My second response. My second response, therefore, is that the Novus Ordo conservatives are
ecclesiastical materialists. They can see only the continuity of lifeless institutions from pre- to post-Vatican II, and from that they conclude that salvation consists in adhering to these lifeless institutions. They see only the material side of the Church, its visible
side, and turn a blind eye to the absence of the invisibles of the Church, especially the assistance of the Holy Ghost in keeping the Church free from error and defection. The Novus Ordo religion is one big error and defection. The fact that error and defection can be found in it is an infallible sign that the invisible assistance of the Holy Ghost is not with the Modernist “popes” and “bishops.” They have no authority to rule, no matter if they are maintaining
the buildings and governmental institutions of the Church.

An analogy. To illustrate my point, I will make an
analogy to a hijacked airplane. Imagine a scene in which terrorists, who have come through the ranks of the airline as uniformed, licensed, and authorized
pilots, one day show their true colors by announcing that the airplane will be flown into the side of a building. They slit the throats of anyone who tries to
stop them. From the outside, the plane is flying as normal. Inside there is chaos, terror, and horror. The Novus Ordo conservative could be compared
to the passenger who would say: “For as long as we are still flying, and the pilots are authorized and uniformed pilots, and the airline logo is still on the
plane, there is nothing to fear.”

The sedevacantists are those who have done something to stop the evil pilots, and who have had the common sense to declare that if the pilots intend the ruination of the aircraft and its passengers, they do not have the authority to pilot the plane. These sedevacantists are considered “extreme” and “misled” by the passengers who are consoled — indeed blinded — by the purely external signs of the normal functioning of the plane. These are the Novus Ordo
conservatives. A carcass of authority.

The Novus Ordo conservative looks merely at the carcass of authority
and government, which is really the only thing left intact since Vatican II, and from it concludes to the identity of the pre- and post-Vatican II religion. He
fails to understand that if the invisible qualities of the Church do not vivify the visible institutions of the Church, then these institutions are dead in the
practical order.

The Catholic Church, as the Church founded by Christ and assisted by the Spirit of Truth, always retains these institutions of the papacy and episcopacy and her faithful are always attached to them. Therefore in this present hijacking of these institutions, the Church does not lose her power to
teach, to rule, and to sanctify, for these pertain to her divine constitution. Just as the solution to the hijacked
airline is to wrest the control of the aircraft from those who would pervert its function and destination, so the solution for the Church is to wrest control of these sacred institutions from the Modernists so that once again the government of the Church may
function normally.

In order to wrest control, however, it is first necessary to identify the hijacker and to proclaim what is common sense: that he who intends the destruction of the aircraft and its passengers does not have the authority to pilot the aircraft. Likewise the Modernist, though sitting in a papal or episcopal throne, does not have the authority to pilot the Church.

The worst thing anyone could do in such a case is to reassure Catholics that because we find these Modernists sitting in the papal throne or episcopal
throne, then for that reason they must have the authority to rule the Church. It is as absurd as to say that because the hijacking pilots are seated in the cockpit, they have the authority to pilot the plane and we must obey them.

The Novus Ordo conservative, in remaining loyal to the Modernist “authorities,” stymies and paralyzes
a proper and efficacious reaction to the problem in the Church. He invites everyone to rally to the Modernists, and to spurn and condemn the sedevacantists as schismatics. If the four Novus Ordo cardinals who presented the Dubia to Francis had the
courage to declare him a non-pope, for reason of heresy, the Catholic Church would be on the road to recovery. Instead, they were careful to tell Francis that they were not sedevacantists. Cardinal Burke, one of the Dubia cardinals, stated in an interview in
December that if Francis were a public heretic, he would no longer be the pope.

Leave Rome? Who has left Rome? It is not to leave Rome, the one true Church, to be faithful to Catholic doctrine, liturgy and discipline. It is not to leave Rome to denounce as Modernism, the worst
heresy to assail the Church according to Saint Pius X, the aberrations of Vatican II in doctrine, liturgy, and discipline. It is not to leave Rome to declare that those who deviate from the true faith cannot rule the Catholic Church.

It is to leave Rome, however, to embrace the new religion of Vatican II, and to associate with the authority of Christ those who have devastated, in a matter of fifty-nine years, counting from 1958, the magnificent Catholic Church, built up for centuries by true popes and bishops with the assistance of the
Spirit of Truth. For Rome is the Church, and the Church is the Faith.

All of these discussions always revert to a single question: Do the reforms of Vatican II constitute a new religion, different from the Catholic religion? If
they do, then the position of the sedevacantists is correct. For it is impossible that the Church, assisted
by the Holy Ghost, could promulgate to the whole world a false religion. If, on the other hand, they do not constitute a new religion, if indeed there is
continuity of true doctrine, liturgy and discipline, then the sedevacantist is wrong and the Novus Ordo conservative is right. So it is pointless to talk about
anything else unless this single burning question is answered.

His Excellency Bishop Donald Sandborn Most Holy Trinity Seminary

God Bless BJS!!

End Times and The Anti-Christ

A Better take on things to come. Bishop Donald Sandborn of The Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Brooksville FL is as about straight to the heart of Catholoscism as we can find in this day and age. Please feel free to browse YouTube for the series “What Catholics Believe”, which aired in the 1980s and had very good topics of interest with a number of terrific clergymen and Catholic role models. God Bless BJS!!


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