Against Rome

I had a recent heart-breaking conversation with an ex-Muslim. He continued to go to the local RC church and request baptism. He had read the entire Bible multiple times by that time. The priest put him off at first, delaying him. Then he told him he could not because his bishop had forbade it. And eventually assaulted him verbally in front of some other friends of his (who were Christians) and said that if he came to mass again he would call the police. Ultimately, he told him he was fighting against God who had determined that he be born into a Muslim family.

He will be baptized, but almost certainly not into the Catholic Church, because they have refused him. Now who is at fault for this man not being in communion with 'the vicar of Peter'?

One bright spot: some of the young laity who had witnessed some of these things told the priest that he had not acted correctly.

The branch that does not bear fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire.

Abu Daoud

Comments

Matt said…
Send him to our church (Eastern Orthodox). Our priest baptized a former Muslim just a few months ago.
Abu Daoud said…
Yes, but are you in a Muslim-majority city? That is the real question.
Matt said…
No. But we're close to Dearborn.
So you take an extraordinary instance and try to paint the whole RCC with the same brush. We are a Church of 1.1 Billion people. There are idiots among that number... that poor man just happened to run into one.
.
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That bishop who forbade the priest should be reported to the CDF. As an aside, here is the RCC effectively at work in muslim countries, converting people en masse.
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http://www.gloria.tv/?media=65411
my bad, i thought he was part of the coptic church that was in communion with the rcc... none the less, fr zakaria is amazing.
Jonathan said…
This is a horrible story, and it shames me to think about it. . .

. . . yet, I wonder what I would do if I was there. Perhaps I find it so shameful because deep down I am afraid that I would not act any different from this priest.

Lord, grant us the courage to follow you wherever you go.
hugh watt said…
Hi Abu. So this man was not baptized into the R.C church. Should we not be baptized into Christ!
Ed Cole said…
The fact that Pope Benedict baptized a Muslim at the Easter vigil last (?) year shows that the Catholic Church considers it quite lawful and proper to bring them into the household of God. See also Dominus Jesus, which the MSM treated as if it were a new chapter of Mein Kampf.

Anybody who hasn't been living in a cave knows that there have been serious problems in the Catholic Church for some time, of which the sex scandals the media love are only the tip of the iceberg. One of the problems has been a false form of ecumenism which denies the need for Christ and His Church. But that has never been an authentic Roman Catholic attitude.
Abu Daoud said…
Hugh: He has not been baptized at all at this point.

Irenaeus: Actually, throughout the entire Muslim world this is the norm for Roman Catholics. This is not an exception. The sad thing is that this guy was so persistent in seeking baptism and was just shot down again and again.
Lvka said…
You can't blame someone for not beign strong enough to be a martyr.
Nor can you blame a Billion people for the fault of one.
hugh watt said…
Ed, denying Christ is what will damn any soul, not Christ + His Church or any church.

Abu, if he or anyone else is looking for salvation through a religious system, he is misinformed. J.W's say you must be baptized into their organization, Mormons say the same about the Mormon church, so does RC. What does the Bible teach though!
Abu Daoud said…
Hugh, this guy didn't know anything about the difference between the Protestants and the Orthodox and the Catholics. He just went to the church he knew about, which happened to be Catholic. They turned him back.

Lvka: Catholics turning away Muslims seeking baptism happens all the time in the Muslim world. It is the norm. The bishops know it, and they support it.
Catholics turning away Muslims seeking baptism happens all the time in the Muslim world. It is the norm

I am not doubting you, but why on earth would they do that?
Jeff said…
I think this is just one facet of the weakness and corruption that overwhelmed the Church (along with some good things) after Vatican Two.

One justification is that if we take you, we will be shut down. Then there will be zero practicing Catholics, not one more.

Another justification you see more strongly in Orthodox countries...we don't see converts, that's not how we do things anymore. We dialogue instead and try to heal rifts by the whole, rather than in drips.

These are tempting arguments, especially the first. But they betray the Gospel.

I don't though agree with the "useless branch" comment. The Catholic Church isn't a branch, it's the Vine.

Though in its human aspects, it can seem worse than useless at certain times and places.
In any case it doesnt take a priest to have him baptized into the Catholic Church. Any baptized Catholic can perform a baptism of necessity.
As a Catholic evangelist who wants very much for Muslims to join our church, I am saddened and frustrated by this priest's actions. Why would he put this man's soul in danger? As someone else said, he is definitely not following the example of the pope, who publicly baptized a Muslim. This man's baptism need not even be public - it could be done privately by making an appointment, if there is a real concern that a public baptism would be dangerous.
Abu Daoud said…
Hi All, I was recently updated on this situation. The man in question is now being trained by an indigenous Pentecostal pastor and is preparing for baptism under his direction.
hugh watt said…
Salome Bintullah said...
As a Catholic evangelist who wants very much for Muslims to join our church,..

Why? We are supposed to be joined to/ in Christ! Muslims are often confused by what they hear because they think they are being asked to leave one religion (which is really Muhammad's ideology), to switch to another religion. Not so! The Pentecostal minister should not tell him he is joining Pentecostalism, but becoming a member of the bride of Christ. He does not need more religion, that's the last thing he needs!
Jonathan said…
"He does not need more religion, that's the last thing he needs!"

James 1:26-27 (and 1 Timothy 5:4) seems to indicate that what a man needs is true religion.

Your sentiment is understandable, but I think unrealistic -- every "non-denominational" church that I have ever encountered is simply a denomination of but one church. We all long for that unity that Jesus prayed for, but it must be a true unity, and will never come about due to wishful thinking. It will never come about by purely human efforts anyway, but only through the Holy Spirit. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit, that he might work in all of our hearts, both to fill our hearts with an evangelistic fervor and to bring unity to all Christians.
hugh watt said…
Jonathan said...
James 1:26-27 (and 1 Timothy 5:4) seems to indicate that what a man needs is true religion.
Agreed!
What most Muslims i dialogue with understand about religion has nothing to do with the above quoted texts. They have the impression that Christianity is just a continuation of Rabbinic, not Mosaic, Judaism. Sadly, many Christians have fallen for the same fallacy. The R.C.C is full of it.
Praying TO the Holy Spirit is not scriptural. Bless.
Jonathan said…
"The R.C.C is full of it."

I would be a fool and a liar to deny that about my own church, but I am curious to know what church isn't. Pride and self-reliance seem to afflict everyone.

"Praying TO the Holy Spirit is not scriptural."

Strictly speaking, neither is the concept of the Trinity. Certainly, it is most proper to pray to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. However, we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, who is God, so I do not know why we should not communicate with Him. There is a long tradition of praying "Come, Holy Spirit" (or similar words).

But, I don't really think it matters. I shall address that prayer for unity and evangelistic fervor to all three persons of the Blessed Trinity.
hugh watt said…
"Strictly speaking, neither is the concept of the Trinity."
There are a number of ways i could tackle this. Do you know Hebrew? It's not vital that you do, i can explain it in simpler terms. Father, Son and Holy Ghost would suffice, as you seemed to indicate. Strictly speaking Trinity is Scriptural, unless you're using western mind reasoning.
Islam struggles with this. This is why you see Allah's/ Muhammad's/ Islam's confusion in the Quran about 'Trinity.'

"There is a long tradition of praying "Come, Holy Spirit" (or similar words)." TRADITION!
Jonathan said…
I do not want to hijack our hosts comments, but I think we can make this relevant. Regarding tradition, we'll just have to leave it at that, as it is simply too involved a topic.

I was only thinking to use the Trinity as an example, but I am curious about your reference to western thinking. What is a non-western way of understanding the Trinity? And how does that apply to explaining it to Muslims? I don't currently interact with Muslims very often, but I live near a large Muslim population, so I expect I will encounter them more in the future.
hugh watt said…
Agreed. A more relevant place i think to discuss this would be on the thread, "Shall we thank Islam for helping us sharpen our theology?" You need to click on "Circumpolar." I need to log off for now, and will pick this up approx' 4.5 hrs from now.
Regards.
Abu Daoud said…
Well, to my Roman and Greek Catholic friends, I request that you write a letter to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem who is in charge of practically the whole Middle East. Encourage him to be bold in receiving Muslims into the Church through baptism and confirmation.

Jonathan: I am happy to hear about your situation. May I make a recommendation? Choose two or three places where Muslims work and make them your normal place of business for buying gas, meat, eating shwerma or kebab, or what have you. Get to know the folks there. This is the way the Kingdom grows.
Jonathan said…
Is there any easy way to tell if a shop is run by Muslims? There are also a lot of Chaldeans in the area, and half the time that I've assumed someone was Muslim I've later learned they were Catholic.
Hugh, I don't want to derail this thread either, but I would like to say that you are misunderstanding my position. I'm not exactly sure what your definition of "religion" is, but it definitely seems to be different than mine. We Catholics are not, as you seem to think (correct me if I'm wrong), mindless legalists who go through the motions of faith. We believe that in joining our church, people are joined to/in Christ, as you say. Jesus, whom we worship as our Lord and Savior, founded a church. We need a personal relationship with him, but we also need to fellowship with other believers. Since baptism is necessary for salvation (1 Peter 3:21), and this priest denied an interested Muslim baptism, I was lamenting this fact.

AD - That's a good idea, I think I'll do that. Perhaps if the patriarch hears about this story, he will encourage his priests to accept all interested candidates, regardless of religious background.
hugh watt said…
Salome. Pt.1. Firstly, i think there should be some flexibility when answering a Q. If this is not allowed it becomes quite stagnant and may i say 'legalistic,'
Secondly. This, and all i say must not be taken in a personal way. When i have Q's to put to Muslims or whoever, it's regarding their teachings not their own beliefs. This is important.

Definition of religion.
The word "religion" comes from the Latin word "religio" which has a meaning influenced by the verb "religare" TO BIND, in the sense of "place an obligation on." This conflicts with John 8:32,36. What were the Pharisees doing that upset Christ so much? They were adding things on to the Law that bound people to Religious 'do's and don'ts,' which was man's add-ons not God's. Jesus wanted, and still wants people to be set free from all of that. Now whether it be Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, or even within Protestantism, He wants to set us free.

A Biblical illustration.
The thieves on either side of Jesus were both guilty, helpless and near death. It was too late to go to church, get baptised or receive the sacraments. One thief owned up, repented of his sin, and trusted in Christ. He went to Heaven. The other thief rejected Christ and went to Hell. Now what does Satan try to do. Like many religious folk who say, 'my own good efforts, good deeds, and ability to keep the law, PLUS what Christ did by dying for me, this will get me into Heaven. Satan likes this. SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS!
I went to the funeral of a R.C. The priest who eulogized over him said NOTHING about Christ's ransom sacrifice for sinners, but spoke only about the man's 'good works.' Would i describe such a person as a 'mindless legalist,'? The deceased, i don't know, he never spoke for himself. The priest, perhaps, this was what the congregation listened to, and i know what i heard. I also observed acts of religious 'piety' by some R.C's, to be seen by men.

What does the word 'Catholic' mean Salome? When it's by itself i have no problem, but when you add 'Roman' as a prefix, now i have Q's.

To be continued...(TBC)
hugh watt said…
Pt.2. Salome said; "We believe that in joining our church, people are joined to/in Christ, AS YOU SAY. Jesus, whom we worship as our Lord and Savior, founded a church. We need a personal relationship with him, but we also need to fellowship with other believers. Since baptism is necessary for salvation (1 Peter 3:21)." (Emphasis added).

So as not to be mistaken; those baptised INTO Christ are His, not INTO the R.C.C! The R.C.C have nothing to do with salvation, neither does any church or denomination. Fellowship with those who do not hold to right doctrine can be lethal.

1 Peter 3.21; Douay-Rheims Bible
Whereunto baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also: NOT THE PUTTING AWAY OF THE FILTH OF THE FLESH, BUT THE EXAMINATION OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARDS GOD by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Geneva Study Bible
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Baptism INTO Christ is necessary for salvation, not the R.C.C nor any church or denomination!
Matt said…
"Fellowship with those who do not hold to right doctrine can be lethal."

Couldn't agree more. That is why Orthodox Christians are encouraged not to pray with the heterodox (i.e. Protestants).

"Baptism INTO Christ is necessary for salvation, not the R.C.C nor any church or denomination!"

You run into problems when you start to think of the Church merely as one "denomination" versus another. Please remember that the Church is the "Body of Christ" (Col 1.18,24). When you are baptized into Christ, you are baptized into His body. We are not baptized as lone individuals, but into a community.
hugh watt said…
Matt said; "Couldn't agree more. That is why Orthodox Christians are encouraged not to pray with the heterodox (i.e. Protestants)."
Qualify "orthodox."

"You run into problems when you start to think of the Church merely as one "denomination" versus another."
Read what i said, it was not that.

"Please remember that the Church is the "Body of Christ" (Col 1.18,24). When you are baptized into Christ, you are baptized into His body. We are not baptized as lone individuals, but into a community." Thanks for making my point for me. I'd just add, His body is not the R.C.C.
Matt said…
Qualify "orthodox."

"orthodox" can have any number of meanings. But by "Orthodox" I mean the Eastern Orthodox Church.

His body is not the R.C.C.

How do you know?
hugh watt said…
Matt said; "Couldn't agree more. That is why Orthodox Christians are encouraged not to pray with the heterodox (i.e. Protestants)."
Explain! I'm trying to understand what your reasoning is.

I said; "His body is not the R.C.C."
You said; "How do you know?"
Think about it! If you disagree on what i say i need something more than this. Where are you coming from?
Hugh, I'm sorry if you had a negative reaction to one Catholic priest at one Catholic funeral. Unfortunately, as is often the case with other clergy at other places of Christian worship, this is not necessarily reflective of that church as a whole or that church's religious beliefs. Rest assured that as Catholics we believe that we are saved through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and that our faith is manifested through our good works.

"What does the word 'Catholic' mean Salome? When it's by itself i have no problem, but when you add 'Roman' as a prefix, now i have Q's."

Actually, the proper name of the RCC is *not* "Roman Catholic Church" but rather simply "Catholic Church." Non-Catholic Christians were the ones who first added the word "Roman," so if you have questions about the prefix, Catholics aren't the ones you should be asking.

When most people today use the word "religion," they mean "a system of beliefs." This is the way that I and everyone else I've known uses this word today. Nonetheless, thank you for letting me know what you mean when you use the word. I personally have found that many problems between Catholics and non-Catholics arise simply because we have different meanings for the same words.

Along with Matt, I would like to ask how you "know" that baptized Catholics are not part of the body of Christ. I don't think you've made your reasoning clear enough, since both of us are missing it.
ALso, whenever we baptize anyone, we baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus commands us in the Bible, not in the name of the Catholic Church or the Pope or anyone other than God. So I don't see how you can say that we're not baptizing anybody into Christ.
"A Biblical illustration.
The thieves on either side of Jesus were both guilty, helpless and near death. It was too late to go to church, get baptised or receive the sacraments. One thief owned up, repented of his sin, and trusted in Christ. He went to Heaven. The other thief rejected Christ and went to Hell. Now what does Satan try to do. Like many religious folk who say, 'my own good efforts, good deeds, and ability to keep the law, PLUS what Christ did by dying for me, this will get me into Heaven. Satan likes this. SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS!"

Well, it's a good thing Catholics don't believe that we save ourselves then, isn't it? ;)We believe that in the case of the good thief, he received what is called by theologians "baptism of desire." That is, through no fault of his own, he was unable to have any kind of access to baptism, but he believed in Jesus, repented of his sins, and desired salvation.

We definitely don't believe, as Muslims do, that our good deeds must outweigh our bad deeds or we'll go to hell. Anyone can repent and turn to God at any time and receive the same heavenly reward as someone who has been a good, believing Christian his entire life. Just like in the parable of the workers in the vinyard (Matthew 20:1-16).
hugh watt said…
Pt.1 of 2.Firstly i need to say this. I believe that within the R.C.C there are true believers in Christ. What i do not believe is the doctrine is Biblical.

Salome said; "Rest assured that as Catholics we believe that we are saved through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and that our faith is manifested through our good works."
Catechism. Salvation:Received at baptism; may be lost by mortal sin; regained by penance. Those who have never heard of Christ may be saved. (Catech 847). Un-Biblical.
Baptism is a Holy Sacrament BY WHICH WE ARE BORN AGAIN by being immersed in water three times in the name of the Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Sacrament of Baptism has the first rank among the Seven Holy Sacraments, as it is the door by which the believer enters the church and has the right to partake in the rest of the Sacraments.
The Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism by being baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, when the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove, anointed Him, then assured it after the resurrection when He said to His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew: 28:19), “He who is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Baptism IS A REDEMPTIVE SACRAMENT, NECESSARY FOR REDEMPTION AND ENTRY TO ETERNAL LIFE ACCORDING TO WHAT THE LORD SAID: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (John 3). It is one of the FOUR REDEMPTIVE Sacraments: Baptism, Myron, Confession and Communion of the Holy Body and precious Blood of the Lord. THROUGH BAPTISM, the believer IS REBORN a spiritual birth from the Water and the Spirit; his first birth being from his parents." (Emphasis added).

"Faith manifested through good works." Good! "Saved through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross," Not according to R.C.C belief.

"Actually, the proper name of the RCC is *not* "Roman Catholic Church" but rather simply "Catholic Church." Non-Catholic Christians were the ones who first added the word "Roman," so if you have questions about the prefix, Catholics aren't the ones you should be asking." If this be so, it may be to point to a specific church headquartered in Rome that has persecuted Bible believing Christians for being "heretics." Those who stood up and Protested against a false un-Biblical system. No need for a history lesson here.

"Along with Matt, I would like to ask how you "know" that baptized Catholics are not part of the body of Christ. I don't think you've made your reasoning clear enough, since both of us are missing it." Answered above. Read what i said, it was not that.
hugh watt said…
Pt.2. Salome Bintullah said...ALso, whenever we baptize anyone, we baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus commands us in the Bible, not in the name of the Catholic Church or the Pope or anyone other than God. So I don't see how you can say that we're not baptizing anybody into Christ." Actually you become a member of the R.C.C. You are now subject to ITS laws!

"Well, it's a good thing Catholics don't believe that we save ourselves then, isn't it? ;)" If you do not go through the baptismal ceremony according to R.C doctrine, you'll not be classed as saved. "Convey grace by their operation (ex opere operato)." The thief on the cross would not be saved by R.C.C doctrine.

Catechism. Profession of Faith: 845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. THE CHURCH IS THE PLACE WHERE HUMANITY MUST REDISCOVER ITS UNITY AND SALVATION. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood." (Emphasis added).

"We definitely don't believe, as Muslims do, that our good deeds must outweigh our bad deeds or we'll go to hell." What are the acts of 'penance' for?
Matt said…
"Explain! I'm trying to understand what your reasoning is.

The short answer is, we don't even agree on who it is we should be praying to (e.g. you don't think we should pray to the Holy Spirit because it is "unbiblical."), nevermind the other more basic doctrines of the Faith: the purpose and nature of baptism, the Real Presence, the definition of "salvation," even. Why would I even want to pray with someone who has such different beliefs than I do? I'll pray for you, of course. But not with you. (by that I mean I won't attend one of your worship services or Bible studies. If we ate a meal together, then of course I'd pray with you beforehand.)

"Think about it! If you disagree on what i say i need something more than this. Where are you coming from?"

I didn't say I disagree with you. I was just asking how you know that Christ's body is not the RCC, and that whatever "church" you belong to is?
Matt said…
"What are the acts of 'penance' for?"

I'll let Salome answer for the RCC. But for the Orthodox Christian, penance is merely repentance. It is a way we deny ourselves and our sin and turn back to God. It helps us to focus on what is True, Honest, Just, Pure, and Lovely (Phil 4.8).

Penance is NOT 1) an attempt to earn salvation, 2) a reparation for sin, 3) a way to appease God's anger.
What Matt says about penance is correct.

""Faith manifested through good works." Good! "Saved through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross," Not according to R.C.C belief."

Hugh, I'm sorry, but you've made it very clear here that you don't know the first thing about Catholic beliefs. I have been studying my faith very intensively for almost two years now, and I find it both offensive and ridiculous that you would actually think you know more about my beliefs than I do. So please, do not patronizingly tell me that my church teaches thus-and-such when you've just picked a paragraph at random out of the Catechism without bothering to seek out Catholic explanations of what it means.

Please, stop telling me what I believe. I know what I believe, and it's definitely not what you think I believe.
"Those who have never heard of Christ may be saved. (Catech 847). Un-Biblical."

Here is an article that uses Bible verses to explain how ignorant non-Christians may be saved: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2003/0302fea3.asp
""Well, it's a good thing Catholics don't believe that we save ourselves then, isn't it? ;)" If you do not go through the baptismal ceremony according to R.C doctrine, you'll not be classed as saved. "Convey grace by their operation (ex opere operato)." The thief on the cross would not be saved by R.C.C doctrine."

Actually, as I just pointed out, he would be. Again, stop telling me what I believe.
""Actually, the proper name of the RCC is *not* "Roman Catholic Church" but rather simply "Catholic Church." Non-Catholic Christians were the ones who first added the word "Roman," so if you have questions about the prefix, Catholics aren't the ones you should be asking." If this be so, it may be to point to a specific church headquartered in Rome that has persecuted Bible believing Christians for being "heretics." Those who stood up and Protested against a false un-Biblical system. No need for a history lesson here."

The real reason they added the word "Roman" was so that they could consider themselves as "catholics" and the Catholic Church as just one part of that church.

It is true that members of the Catholic Church have persecuted non-Catholics in the past. Jesus made it very clear that there would always be sinners in his church (Matthew 13:24-30).

Actually, there is a need for a history lesson here. The history lesson is this: Catholics are hardly the only Christians who have persecuted those who don't belong to their church. Your "Bible believing Christians" did a fair amount of their own persecuting. Case in point: in Renaissance England, Catholicism was illegal. If you were a Catholic and you got caught and refused to renounce Catholicism for Protestantism, you were executed in any number of unpleasant ways, including but not limited to whipping, torture, drawing and quartering, disembowelment, decapitation, or burning. It was very popular to employ several of those methods at one execution. If a British Catholic refused to renounce his faith, he had to look forward to a very long, painful, and probably public death.
Abu Daoud said…
Hi All,

Well, this was not the purpose of this post in the first place, but things grow in their own way, no?

First: if I did not respect and care for the Catholic Church then I would not have lamented the fact that they had driven away a Muslim seeker.

Second: Hugh, thanks so much for coming by this blog, and I say this to you as a non-Catholic evangelical, you're not really understanding Catholic doctrine. Salome has, in my view, done a good job of communicating the teaching of the Catholic Church.

AD
Abu Daoud said…
Hi All,

Well, this was not the purpose of this post in the first place, but things grow in their own way, no?

First: if I did not respect and care for the Catholic Church then I would not have lamented the fact that they had driven away a Muslim seeker.

Second: Hugh, thanks so much for coming by this blog, and I say this to you as a non-Catholic evangelical, you're not really understanding Catholic doctrine. Salome has, in my view, done a good job of communicating the teaching of the Catholic Church.

AD
AD - Thanks. I was never in any doubt that you don't respect and care for the Catholic Church. I believe that these tragic incidents need to be made known. We need a kick in the pants to let us know that ecumenism is one thing, but pluralism is another. I am very glad to hear that the man did not give up on Christianity. I pray that other interested seekers will not be treated as this man was, and I also pray that God blesses him on his faith journey. The important thing is that he is becoming a Christian. May God forgive the priest and lead him to a better understanding of Jesus' commission to baptize all nations.
hugh watt said…
@Matt. "The short answer is, we don't even agree on who it is we should be praying to (e.g. you don't think we should pray to the Holy Spirit because it is "unbiblical." Bible ref' pls'.

"Why would I even want to pray with someone who has such different beliefs than I do? I'll pray for you, of course. But not with you. (by that I mean I won't attend one of your worship services or Bible studies. If we ate a meal together, then of course I'd pray with you beforehand.)"
Pope John Paul II when he went to Latin America 1986 called born again Evangelical Christians, "rapacious wolves." We are "separated brethren," he said.

"I didn't say I disagree with you. I was just asking how you know that Christ's body is not the RCC, and that whatever "church" you belong to is?" It's easier if you read what i say. Give me refs' for point 1. When did i limit Christ's body to "my church?" Refs' pls.

"I'll let Salome answer for the RCC. But for the Orthodox Christian, penance is merely repentance. It is a way we deny ourselves and our sin and turn back to God. It helps us to focus on what is True, Honest, Just, Pure, and Lovely (Phil 4.8).
Penance is NOT 1) an attempt to earn salvation, 2) a reparation for sin, 3) a way to appease God's anger."
Bible refs' to prove your point pls. I have some, i'm just waiting for the emotional stuff to pass from you guys.

More to come.
hugh watt said…
@Salome.
Hugh, I'm sorry, but you've made it very clear here that you don't know the first thing about Catholic beliefs. I have been studying my faith very intensively for almost two years now, and I find it both offensive and ridiculous that you would actually think you know more about my beliefs than I do. So please, do not patronizingly tell me that my church teaches thus-and-such when you've just picked a paragraph at random out of the Catechism without bothering to seek out Catholic explanations of what it means.
Please, stop telling me what I believe. I know what I believe, and it's definitely not what you think I believe."
Pride! How do you know what i know? So now you need someone to explain your catechisms? Oh! I've heard the same thing from Mormons, J.W's, Muslims...Your sources say these things. If you need to have them further explained don't have a dig at me for reading stuff then asking why it has NO Biblical authority! Refs' pls.

"Here is an article that uses Bible verses to explain how ignorant non-Christians may be saved:"
"Ignorant non-Christians (not a nice term), are saved like anyone else. In short, John 3.16.

Salome Bintullah said...
""Well, it's a good thing Catholics don't believe that we save ourselves then, isn't it? ;)" If you do not go through the baptismal ceremony according to R.C doctrine, you'll not be classed as saved. "Convey grace by their operation (ex opere operato)." The thief on the cross would not be saved by R.C.C doctrine."
Actually, as I just pointed out, he would be. Again, stop telling me what I believe."
Actually, your argument is with the R.C ref' i quoted, not me. Thihk about it!

"It is true that members of the Catholic Church have persecuted non-Catholics in the past. Jesus made it very clear that there would always be sinners in his church (Matthew 13:24-30)."
Wrong! There are NO sinners in Christ's Church. The text you quoted says the FRAUDS will be spotted then ejected.

"Actually, there is a need for a history lesson here. The history lesson is this: Catholics are hardly the only Christians who have persecuted those who don't belong to their church."
Yep! God will judge all. Can't argue against that.

One more to come.
hugh watt said…
@Abu. "Second: Hugh, thanks so much for coming by this blog, and I say this to you as a non-Catholic evangelical, you're not really understanding Catholic doctrine. Salome has, in my view, done a good job of communicating the teaching of the Catholic Church."

Again, i think i do. You guys need to refute the catechisms that i quoted, not paraphrased.

Ok. Answer these Q's Matt, Salome, Abu. Where in the Bible do you see Popes, Nuns, Hail Mary's as part of penance? And that's just for starters!
Jonathan said…
At this point we run into the crucial question that lies beneath all these debates:

What is our standard of authority?

Scripture? Tradition? Pastor? Congregation? Conscience? Logic? Some combination of the above?

Without coming to an agreement on that question, I'm really not sure how much headway we will make with other questions.

For example, I believe Catholic belief X. A protestant challenges me to support X with Scripture. This is because for the protestant, a doctrine cannot be known to be true unless it can be found in Scripture. Whereas I do not need that same level of Scriptural evidence, because I am content with the testimony and interpretation of the Church.

The protestant will be upset because I am accepting the authority of something other than Scripture, and I will be upset because the protestant is not accepting the authority of the Church (and wonder why he is being so obstinate in demanding scripture references).

I suspect that something similar is at play any time Christians debate with Muslims. I do not know enough of Muslim thought to know what that would be, but I could see how it would be useful to find out.
"Pride! How do you know what i know? So now you need someone to explain your catechisms? Oh! I've heard the same thing from Mormons, J.W's, Muslims...Your sources say these things. If you need to have them further explained don't have a dig at me for reading stuff then asking why it has NO Biblical authority! Refs' pls."

You're the one who's prideful here, not me. I was objecting to the condescending way in which you were telling me "that is/is not what Catholics believe" when as a Catholic I know, far better than you, what we believe. I'm not saying that non-Catholics can't understand Catholic beliefs - just that you don't seem to understand them. I'm not the only one here who is telling you that you're misunderstanding Catholic beliefs.

When I said that an explanation is needed for some beliefs, I merely meant that not everything is easy for everyone to understand, especially if you're not Catholic because we don't have the same background. The Catechism has copious footnotes, including ones that refer to biblical passages. I urge you to utilize them. I also urge you to take a look at the Compendium of the Catechism. It's a sort of SparkNotes companion, if you will.

"Ignorant non-Christians (not a nice term), are saved like anyone else. In short, John 3.16."

When I said "ignorant," I was referring to their lack of true knowledge of Christ. Did you even bother to read the article? It responds to exactly the objection that you're making.
"Actually, your argument is with the R.C ref' [about baptism being necessary for salvation] i quoted, not me. Thihk about it!"

I do think about it. In fact, I think about it so much that I actually read more than just that single paragraph in the Catechism:

The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

"Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism. (CCC 1257-1261).

"Wrong! There are NO sinners in Christ's Church. The text you quoted [Matthew 13:24-30] says the FRAUDS will be spotted then ejected."

If frauds in Christ's church are not sinners, then who is? Nonetheless, here is an article that brings up other scriptural references to sinners in the church: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0404fea4.asp

"Yep! God will judge all. Can't argue against that."

Finally, something we can agree on. ;) I have to go to class now, but I will answer your other concerns when I return.
"Again, i think i do [understand Catholic doctrine]. You guys need to refute the catechisms that i quoted, not paraphrased."

See my reply above.

"Ok. Answer these Q's Matt, Salome, Abu. Where in the Bible do you see Popes, Nuns, Hail Mary's as part of penance? And that's just for starters!"

Popes:
-Matthew 16:18-20 (Peter as rock and keepre of the keys)
-John 21:17 (Jesus gives Peter his flock to shepherd)
-Acts 15 (Peter lead the first council)
-Acts 15:7-11 (Peter announced the first doctrinal decision)
-Other scripture passages about Peter as earthly leader of the church: http://scripturecatholic.com/primacy_of_peter.html
-Passages about apostolic succession: http://scripturecatholic.com/apostolic_succession.html

Nuns:
-Matt. 19:11-12 (Jesus praises celibacy)
-1 Cor. 7:7 (Paul says celibacy is a gift from God and wishes everyone had this gift like he does)
1 Cor. 7:8 (Paul encourages widows and virgins to remain celibate)
-1 Cor. 7:32–38 (Paul recommends a life of consecrated celibacy)
-1 Cor. 7:34 (Paul says it is preferable for virgins to remain celibate because it will be easier for them to focus on God rather than the world)

Hail Marys:
-Luke 1:28 (The archangel Gabriel says to Mary: "Hail, full of grace, the lord is with thee.")
-Luke 1:42 (Elizabeth says to Mary: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.")
-Luke 1:43: (Elizabeth calls Mary "the mother of my Lord.")
The second part of the prayer, "Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death," was not added until the Middle Ages, so those exact words aren't in scripture. However, there are many Bible verses about intercessory prayer. See: http://scripturecatholic.com/saints.html

Prayers as penance:
-James 4:8-10
-Prayers are not the only form of penance, by the way, although in my personal experience they're the most common. Fasting can also be penance. One priest told me that my penance was to meditate on Jesus' sacrifice (it was shortly after Easter) and to concentrate on what that meant for me and my life, and how I was to live that out.
hugh watt said…
Jonathan said...
"At this point we run into the crucial question that lies beneath all these debates:
What is our standard of authority?
Scripture? Tradition? Pastor? Congregation? Conscience? Logic? Some combination of the above?"

Thank you! Someone who's understanding what i'm getting at, though he does not agree.

What is our standard of authority?
For me, the Bible.

"Scripture? Tradition? Pastor? Congregation? Conscience? Logic? Some combination of the above?"
The LORD Jesus Christ!

"Without coming to an agreement on that question, I'm really not sure how much headway we will make with other questions."
Yes. For, unless we see Jesus as Lord...we will not agree. I will use Scripture to speak for me, for your benefit the Jerusalem bible.
2 Tim'3.16 All scripture is inspired by God and useful for refuting error, for guiding people's lives and teaching them to be upright."
John 14.26 but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you."
John 16.13-15 However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come.
14 He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine.
15 Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine."
1:Tim' 6.3-5.3 Anyone who teaches anything different and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion,
4 is proud and has no understanding, but rather a weakness for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and evil mistrust;
5 and unending disputes by people who are depraved in mind and deprived of truth, and imagine that religion is a way of making a profit."

"The protestant will be upset because I am accepting the authority of something other than Scripture, and I will be upset because the protestant is not accepting the authority of the Church (and wonder why he is being so obstinate in demanding scripture references)." Yes.
Romans 3.4. Out of the question! God will always be true even if no human being can be relied on. As scripture says: That you may show your saving justice when you pass sentence and your victory may appear when you give judgement."

"I suspect that something similar is at play any time Christians debate with Muslims."
And others.
hugh watt said…
Salome Bintullah said.
"The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation."
Bible ref'?

"Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism,. BAPTISM IS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism,."

"The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament."
You helped me here. Having no chance of baptism, 'the thief on the cross.' No joining the R.C.C for him was there!

"If frauds in Christ's church are not sinners, then who is?"
"Wrong! There are NO sinners in Christ's Church. The text you quoted [Matthew 13:24-30] says the FRAUDS will be spotted then ejected."
hugh watt said…
I said.
"Ok. Answer these Q's Matt, Salome, Abu. Where in the Bible do you see Popes, Nuns, Hail Mary's as part of penance? And that's just for starters!"

Pope? "Matthew 16:18-20 (Peter as rock and keepre of the keys)"
Confirm this from the Catholic encyclo'.
Peter/ Cephas. "Rock" or "Stone." Is Christ's Church built upon a sinner? In his own words he said he was a "co-elder," "apostle," "servant." Where did he say "pope?"

Matthew 18:1, "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Peter?

Matthew 20:25-26, "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;" Not your Pope! If he was the "1st pope," where is the evidence?

1 Cor' 10.4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they drank from the spiritual rock which followed them, and that ROCK WAS CHRIST."

"John 21:17 (Jesus gives Peter his flock to shepherd)"

John 10.11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
12 The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;
13 he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.
16 And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, one shepherd."
Peter laid down his life for the flock!

John 21.17 Then he said to him a third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that he asked him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'FEED my sheep."

Isaiah 42.8 I am Yahweh, that is my name! I shall not yield my glory to another, nor my honour to idols."

Mark 8.38 For if anyone in this sinful and adulterous generation is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

"Acts 15 (Peter lead the first council)"
He was not alone! Galatians 2.9 and when they acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, then James AND Cephas AND John, who were the ones recognised as pillars, offered their right hands to Barnabas and to me as a sign of partnership: we were to go to the gentiles and they to they to the circumcised." James mentioned FIRST! Read further down you see Paul rebukes Peter for wrong conduct.
"Acts 15:7-11 (Peter announced the first doctrinal decision)
-Other scripture passages about Peter as earthly leader of the church:"
Dealt with above.
Matt said…
"i'm just waiting for the emotional stuff to pass from you guys."

Hugh, I'm finished with this conversation. I have no interest whatsoever in debating you. Your disrespect is of the charts. If you'd like to ask questions like someone who is interested in learning something, that's cool, but this confrontational, belittling approach 1) is not edifying to anyone involved, 2) does nothing to further the Gospel, and 3) is unfortunately all too typical of someone who is intersted only in telling others how wrong they are, and not in actually learning what it is they truly believe.

I will pray, Hugh, (to the entire Trinity) that you will find humility.

In the meantime, while you are deriding beliefs and practices that you don't feel have a scriptural basis, please consider whether or not you are able to find a scriptural reference for the following: Sunday school, "baby dedications," youth pastors, associate pastors (heck, "pastors," at all!), guitars and drums in church, sitting while you pray, praying with eyes closed and head bowed, Communion and Baptism as strictly a symbolic gesture, open Communion, infrequent (i.e. less than once per week) Communion, using grape juice instead of wine in Communiion, etc, etc...
hugh watt said…
Nuns: None of the misquoted texts prove they were "Nuns." If that were so every female in-like-manner would be a 'Nun!'

"Ok. Answer these Q's Matt, Salome, Abu. Where in the Bible do you see Popes, Nuns, HAIL MARRY'S AS PART OF PENANCE? And that's just for starters!"

Hail Marys:
-Luke 1:28 (The archangel Gabriel says to Mary: "Hail, full of grace, the lord is with thee.")
So Gabriel is doing penance here?

Luke 1:42 (Elizabeth says to Mary: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.")
So Elizabeth is doing penance here?

"The second part of the prayer, "Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death," was not added until the Middle Ages, so those exact words aren't in scripture. However, there are many Bible verses about intercessory prayer."

Mark 7.13 In this way you make God's word INEFFECTIVE FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR TRADITION WHICH YOU HAVE HANDED DOWN. AND YOU DO MANY OTHER THINGS LIKE THIS."

"Prayers as penance."
1 John 2: 1-2 My children, I am writing this to prevent you from sinning; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the upright.
2 He is the sacrifice to expiate our sins, and not only ours, but also those of the whole world."

"One priest told me that my penance was to meditate on Jesus' sacrifice (it was shortly after Easter) and to concentrate on what that meant for me and my life, and how I was to live that out."
Biblical ref' for this?
1 Timothy 2.5 For there is only one God, and there is only ONE mediator between God and humanity, himself a human being, Christ Jesus."

Galatians 1.6-9; 6 I am astonished that you are so promptly turning away from the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are going over to a different gospel-
7 not that it is another gospel; except that there are trouble-makers among you who are seeking to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we ourselves or an angel from heaven preaches to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let God's curse be on him.
9 I repeat again what we declared before: anyone who preaches to you a gospel other than the one you were first given is to be under God's curse."
"Salome Bintullah said.
"The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation."
Bible ref'?"

Like I said, the CCC itself gives references in the form of footnotes, and you can refer to those. In this case it refers to a Biblical passage, namely John 3:5: Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit."

"Confirm this from the Catholic encyclo'.
Peter/ Cephas. "Rock" or "Stone." Is Christ's Church built upon a sinner? In his own words he said he was a "co-elder," "apostle," "servant." Where did he say "pope?""

Hugh, since Matthew 16:18 clearly states that Jesus says he will build his church on Peter, the rock, Jesus is probably the one you should be asking about whether or not he built his church upon a sinner. But I'd hazard a guess that his answer would be "yes," since it's right there in the Bible, plain as day.

The pope is indeed a "co-elder," because he is not just pope but also a priest. Once when Pope John Paul II addressed an assembled group of Catholic clergymen, he referred to them as "my fellow priests." So distinguishing between "elder" and "pope" creates a false dichotomy. They are two roles that he has. No contradiction here.

As for where he says "pope," he doesn't. Come, Hugh, you're being a little bit silly about this one, don't you think? The word "pope" comes from the Latin word for "papa," and was not employed until a few centuries after Peter. It's an affectionate term (and in fact was not first used to refer to the bishop of Rome). The pope would still be the earthly head of the universal church, whether or not we called him pope. The point is that *the office*, which is far more important than the title, can be found in those Bible verses to which I referred. As Matt pointed out, there are many terms and practices of non-Catholics which cannot be found spelled out in the Bible.
"Matthew 18:1, "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Peter?"

Do we say that Peter (or any other pope) is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? No, we do not. We say he is the earthly head of the church, which is a very different matter.

"Matthew 20:25-26, "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;" Not your Pope! If he was the "1st pope," where is the evidence?"

I gave you the evidence above. I refer you again to Matthew 16:18, as well as the other verses I quoted. As for this verse, the pope is indeed our minister. That is his entire purpose, to minister to the church. He serves us, every single day.

"1 Cor' 10.4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they drank from the spiritual rock which followed them, and that ROCK WAS CHRIST.""

Peter is the earthly rock, Jesus the spiritual rock. No contradiction here.

"John 10.11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep..."

Peter laid down his life for the flock!"

This is kind of funny, because Peter did actually lay down his life, though not in the manner that you are implying. He was crucified upside-down for refusing to renounce Christ and stop leading and preaching. We do not claim that Peter sacrificed himself for our sins. Jesus is the ultimate shepherd, but it is explicit in the Bible that he charges Peter to shepherd his sheep while Jesus is gone. You may object to what Jesus commands, of course, but I will not.


"Isaiah 42.8 I am Yahweh, that is my name! I shall not yield my glory to another, nor my honour to idols.""

We do not claim that God yields his glory to the pope. The pope, as we have always maintained, is a mere servant of God, as nothing compared to him. Again, no contradiction here.

"Mark 8.38 For if anyone in this sinful and adulterous generation is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.""

The pope is not ashamed of Jesus and his words. Really, I can't even see how this verse is remotely relevant to the topic at hand.

""Acts 15 (Peter lead the first council)"
He was not alone! Galatians 2.9 and when they acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, then James AND Cephas AND John, who were the ones recognised as pillars, offered their right hands to Barnabas and to me as a sign of partnership: we were to go to the gentiles and they to they to the circumcised." James mentioned FIRST!"

Of course Peter was not alone. It was a council, for goodness' sake. We do not nor have we ever believed that the pope is some sort of "lone ranger dictator" of the church. The other bishops, when teaching in unity with him, also bind the faithful (as Jesus later gave the power of biding and loosing to all the apostles, not just Peter).

James mentioned first! The horror! James was the Bishop of Jerusalem, and since this was taking place in Jerusalem, his jurisdiction, naturally he would be mentioned first. It does not denigrate Peter or his authority.

"Read further down you see Paul rebukes Peter for wrong conduct."

Paul rebukes Peter for his personal conduct, not for something he did in his role as pope. This goes back to the concept of a sinner being earthly head of the church. What is important is that he does not teach untruth. He certainly can (and should) be reprimanded for improper conduct in his personal life. Again, no contradiction here.
"Nuns: None of the misquoted texts prove they were "Nuns." If that were so every female in-like-manner would be a 'Nun!'"

I have absolutely no problem with the fact that nuns (as we know them today) didn't exist in the Bible. I was pointing out that the Bible gives precedence to, and even strongly encourages, the existence of virgins who remain celibate in the service of God for the rest of their lives. Personally, I'm appalled that anyone would object to a woman choosing not to have sex and instead devoting her entire body and soul to God, especially in our society which worships sex and selfishness.

"Hail Marys:
-Luke 1:28 (The archangel Gabriel says to Mary: "Hail, full of grace, the lord is with thee.")
So Gabriel is doing penance here?

Luke 1:42 (Elizabeth says to Mary: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.")
So Elizabeth is doing penance here?

"The second part of the prayer, "Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death," was not added until the Middle Ages, so those exact words aren't in scripture. However, there are many Bible verses about intercessory prayer.""

Apparently I misunderstood you. I thought you were referring to the use of the Hail Mary in general, not to the use of it as a penitential prayer in particular.

"Mark 7.13 In this way you make God's word INEFFECTIVE FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR TRADITION WHICH YOU HAVE HANDED DOWN. AND YOU DO MANY OTHER THINGS LIKE THIS.""

This verse is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. You have not proven that penance or the Hail Mary are unbiblical. I have already provided you numerous verses in support of these practices, and I'm happy to continue doing so.

""Prayers as penance."
1 John 2: 1-2 My children, I am writing this to prevent you from sinning; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the upright.
2 He is the sacrifice to expiate our sins, and not only ours, but also those of the whole world.""

As Matt pointed out, *penitential prayers are not a sacrifice to God in atonement for our sins*, so this is another non sequitur. Acts 8:22 is another verse that supports the practice of penitential prayer: "Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart." And really, what Christian sinner *wouldn't* want to pray to God? I've always found that mystifying.

""One priest told me that my penance was to meditate on Jesus' sacrifice (it was shortly after Easter) and to concentrate on what that meant for me and my life, and how I was to live that out."
Biblical ref' for this?"

What, you really think I shouldn't have meditated on Jesus' sacrifice and what it means in my life? "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
"1 Timothy 2.5 For there is only one God, and there is only ONE mediator between God and humanity, himself a human being, Christ Jesus.""

This says that Jesus is the only sacrifice for us. It is Jesus who forgives our sins through the priest, not the priest himself. Jesus clearly instituted this in John 20:21-23. Again, do as you like, but I will do as Jesus says.

"Galatians 1.6-9; I am astonished that you are so promptly turning away from the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are going over to a different gospel-
not that it is another gospel; except that there are trouble-makers among you who are seeking to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we ourselves or an angel from heaven preaches to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let God's curse be on him. I repeat again what we declared before: anyone who preaches to you a gospel other than the one you were first given is to be under God's curse."

You have not proven that the Catholic Church teaches a different gospel. Again, this is a non sequitur.

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