Is the Vatican Smothering Its Pro-life Office with a Seamless Garment?

By Jason Jones & John Zmirak Published on October 11, 2017

LifeSiteNews has issued an alarming report on the official Vatican office that sets the tone for Catholic pro-life efforts worldwide. That’s the Pontifical Academy for Life, whose staff Pope Francis mostly purged and replaced, in some cases with pro-choice thinkers. It now seems to have embraced the “Seamless Garment” ideology of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

The pro-life group C-Fam cited a recent statement by the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life:

Being pro-life requires the academy to “re-think the semantic value of the term life,” said the President of the academy, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, during a press conference on Monday.

He said there were no plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (on Human Life) next year and that the academy was instead opening “new frontiers for debate,” mentioning specifically the environment, migration and arms control.

The Mindless Garment

We have warned about this before at The Stream. The Seamless Garment is a leftist utopian wish list with little connection to real Christian morals. Its proponents pretend that open borders, carbon divestment, and gun confiscation are all just like abortion in that:

  • The correct Christian position on them is clear and unambiguous.
  • The policy implications of how to act on them are obvious and unarguable.
  • They are of all of equal moral importance.

None of these statements is true. Not even close. The Seamless Garment was a handy political dodge for pro-choice liberals who wanted to keep on collecting Catholic votes. It falsifies Christian social teaching. It dissolves the rights of unborn children like a pinch of salt in an Olympic swimming pool of dubious progressive “reforms.” They share just one thing in common: more power for the government.

The Seamless Garment was a handy political dodge for pro-choice liberals who wanted to keep on collecting Catholic votes.

Let’s say we’re just kidding around on the abortion issue. And we really don’t care what happens to unborn children. Then that’s just fine. A nihilist friend in college once quipped, “They’re only babies.”

What If Killing Babies Is Uniquely Evil?

But what if we were serious? What if we really thought that killing almost a million American children a year for our sexual convenience was morally … problematic? That it was just as bad as transphobic children’s books? Maybe worse than white ladies making tacos?

In that case, we wouldn’t cover up the death of the innocent with a moral fog machine. We would focus on it as seriously as the gun lobby and the pro-Israel lobby do on their (just) causes.

We would act like … William Wilberforce.

How Britain Became Christian Again

Eric Metaxas told the story better than we can. In his powerful book Amazing Grace, he described how Wilberforce and a coalition of like-minded Christian reformers changed Britain. They confronted a thoroughly rotted social elite. A fatally compromised Christian church. “Respectable” gentlemen exploited poor women as prostitutes, and society just winked. Corrupt politicians took payoffs to give special privileges from the government to cronies in private business. Anglican priests and bishops preached not the Gospel but blasé Enlightenment platitudes. Some even seemed to be Deists, preaching that God is a bored absentee landlord.

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But worse than all these evils was one. It stood out above all the others. Great Britain was enriching itself through the slave trade. The organized kidnapping, beating, rape, and forced labor of millions of Africans fed the country’s lucrative colonies in the Caribbean. You know those wigged and powdered lords and ladies who nattered about “the rights of man” in glittering parlors? They paid for their costumed balls with blood money. Hundreds of thousands of Englishmen relied on income from sugar plantations in Jamaica and Barbados. Powerful members of Parliament defended the slave trade as vital to their constituents.

Broad-Based Reform

Yes, Wilberforce did lead a broad-based movement for the “reform of manners.” That didn’t center on etiquette. It was a cultural call for the nominal Christians of Britain to live like real Christians. To care for the poor. To be faithful to their marriages. Even to pay their workers fairly. And as Metaxas documents, that movement made a vast difference. It soon became shameful to mistreat your tenants and workers. Mass revival movements brought the Gospel to rural areas where Celtic paganism still lingered. Methodist chapels helped young men stay sober and young women stay out of the brothels. While France lurched from revolution to revolution, Britain pursued peaceful reforms.

First Things First

But first, Wilberforce confronted the slave trade. He knew that it was different. There were no shades of gray on the question. He lived to see not just the slave trade but slavery itself outlawed in the British empire. Britain went from being one of the main exporters of slaves from Africa, to the global police force suppressing the Arab slave trade with cannons and soldiers.

How did he manage that? He wielded the pivotal virtue of prudence. Instead of grandstanding to the public and issuing utopian manifestos about all social evils, he focused his efforts on the greatest one. He separated his crusade against the slave trade from his broader Christian agenda. His campaign focused narrowly on the evils of slavery, the cruelties of plantations and the deaths in the Middle Passage from Africa. He led a boycott of sugar, which fed the slave trade’s profits. He took Englishmen on tours of former slave ships, and sponsored testimonies by ransomed slaves.

Instead of grandstanding to the public and issuing utopian manifestos about all social evils, Wilberforce focused his efforts on the greatest one. He separated his crusade against the slave trade from his broader Christian agenda. His campaign focused narrowly on the evils of slavery

Wilberforce was willing to compromise. He knew that it was a non-starter to demand that all the slaves in Britain’s colonies be liberated immediately. That their “owners” be stripped of incomes many counted on for their livelihoods. His movement worked doggedly to make the right political bargains to ease out slavery throughout the British Empire. In 1833, the British government spent one fifth of the nation’s wealth in payments to slave owners. That set every slave on British soil free, without a civil war such as the United States would face.

If Wilberforce Had Been Seamless

What if Wilberforce had believed in the Seamless Garment? What would he have done? For that, we can look to Cardinal Blaise Cupich in Cardinal Bernardin’s old Archdiocese of Chicago. He greeted the news that Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts for profit … seamlessly. He wrote a column that claimed that Planned Parenthood’s organ trafficking was no worse than cuts to Obamacare. Or “lax” gun laws. Or attempts to deport illegal immigrants. Or the execution of murderers.

So if Wilberforce were Seamless, he would have buried his efforts against the slave trade in a flurry of other initiatives. He would have demanded that Britain dissolve its colonial empire, establish minimum wage laws, end child labor, grant equal rights to women and open all its borders to unlimited immigration. If any politician didn’t favor all that, he’d have refused to work with the person. Because the “anti-slavery” movement needed to address every single other issue of any possible importance. Because he wasn’t that serious about ending slavery in the first place.

But, thanks be to God, Wilberforce wasn’t Seamless.

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  • Nicholas

    The modernist Vatican continually invites pro-aborts, population controllers, and climate change activists to speak there. It’s an embarrassment to the Catholic Church. When Francis said in 2013 that the Church focuses too much on abortion, he was showing us his cards. God, please save us!

  • eddiestardust

    I’m sorry but what in the hell are you people talking about?

    • Chris C.

      Eddie, recently the Vatican under the direction reportedly of Pope Francis reorganized both the marriage and family institute and a second on dedicated to defending life pursuant to Evangelium Vitae. Per the article these institutes will now promote what has come to be known as the “Seamless Garment” whereby in the view of many, myself included, defense of the innocent unborn gets lost in a myriad of other unrelated causes which while important are not within the same moral dimension as abortion. Hope that helps.

  • Kathy

    I may have a solution…focus strictly on Jesus and stop giving the pope and cardinals authority to recreate biblical doctrine that deceives the faithful, whether it be on “social issues” like the killing of the innocent or the matter of decreeing a man-created doctrine that contradicts God’s Word. Considering the many years of church coverups by their authority as well, not sure how much more of this it will take for people to finally see the light. Scripture alone! Always your best source…no deception or corruption there.

    • Chris C.

      Your reliance on Sola Scriptura is misplaced. In fact the Protestant bible is not even a whole bible, since Martin Luther excised 7 books of the Old Testament on his mere say-so. He wanted to do the same with several New Testament works as well. Further, scripture is not self interpreting. It requires a body with teaching authority to interpret and apply. But you are correct in that our focus belongs on God the Father Son and Holy Spirit. To Him we owe our worship and undivided devotion.

      • Kathy

        Thanks for your feedback, Chris. You sell yourself short, though. Individual Christians can trust the Holy Spirit for guidance as they read and interpret the Bible for themselves. If you are a born again believer, which Jesus said you must be to enter His kingdom, the Holy Spirit lives in you.

        Certain doctrine has been decreed by various popes with no Scripture to back them up: the Virgin Mary was pure and sinless from the moment she was conceived, an encyclical issued in 1854 (Christ was the only sinless human to ever live), she remained a virgin all of her life (the Bible states that Joseph had relations with her after Jesus was born and that he had brothers and sisters) and that she was assumed into heaven, which was decreed in 1950, even though her fate goes unrecorded.

        There is so much more I could mention here that is questionable, but the main point I want to make is that it is of great benefit to everyone to research for themselves what they have been taught and not feel pressured to believe everything a fallible human being is

        • Chris C.

          It appears that an earlier response to you failed to post, I’d guess because I provided a link. I’ll therefore copy and paste certain quotes from that link that are relevant to our discussion. Here again is my post with quotes but not the link-

          -You’re welcome Kathy and thank you!

          The Christian faithful believed in the Immaculate Conception long before the dogmatic decree of Pope Blessed Pius IX as well as her perpetual virginity. The founders of the Protestant version of Christianity accepted these doctrines fully.

          -Martin Luther:
          Mary the Mother of God
          Throughout his life Luther maintained without change the historic Christian affirmation that Mary was the Mother of God:

          “She is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God … It is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.”
          Perpetual Virginity
          Again throughout his life Luther held that Mary’s perpetual virginity was an article of faith for all Christians – and interpreted Galatians 4:4 to mean that Christ was “born of a woman” alone.

          “It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a Virgin.”

          The Immaculate Conception
          Yet again the Immaculate Conception was a doctrine Luther defended to his death (as confirmed by Lutheran scholars like Arthur Piepkorn). Like Augustine, Luther saw an unbreakable link between Mary’s divine maternity, perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception. Although his formulation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was not clear-cut, he held that her soul was devoid of sin from the beginning:

          “But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it is piously and suitably believed, was without any sin, so that while the soul was being infused, she would at the same time be cleansed from original sin and adorned with the gifts of God to receive the holy soul thus infused. And thus, in the very moment in which she began to live, she was without all sin…”

          Although he did not make it an article of faith, Luther said of the doctrine of the Assumption:

          “There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know.”

          Honor to Mary
          Despite his unremitting criticism of the traditional doctrines of Marian mediation and intercession, to the end Luther continued to proclaim that Mary should be honored. He made it a point to preach on her feast days.

          “The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.”
          “Is Christ only to be adored? Or is the holy Mother of God rather not to be honoured? This is the woman who crushed the Serpent’s head. Hear us. For your Son denies you nothing.”6 Luther made this statement in his last sermon at Wittenberg in January 1546.

          John Calvin: It has been said that John Calvin belonged to the second generation of the Reformers and certainly his theology of double predestination governed his views on Marian and all other Christian doctrine . Although Calvin was not as profuse in his praise of Mary as Martin Luther he did not deny her perpetual virginity. The term he used most commonly in referring to Mary was “Holy Virgin”.

          “Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God.”

          “Helvidius has shown himself too ignorant, in saying that Mary had several sons, because mention is made in some passages of the brothers of Christ.” Calvin translated “brothers” in this context to mean cousins or relatives.

          “It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor.”

          “To this day we cannot enjoy the blessing brought to us in Christ without thinking at the same time of that which God gave as adornment and honour to Mary, in willing her to be the mother of his only-begotten Son.”

          Ulrich Zwingli:

          “It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God.”

          “I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin.”12 Zwingli used Exodus 4:22 to defend the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

          “I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary.”

          “Christ … was born of a most undefiled Virgin.”

          “It was fitting that such a holy Son should have a holy Mother.”

          “The more the honor and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honor given to Mary should grow.”

          We might wonder why the Marian affirmations of the Reformers did not survive in the teaching of their heirs – particularly the Fundamentalists. This break with the past did not come through any new discovery or revelation. The Reformers themselves (see above) took a benign even positive view of Marian doctrine – although they did reject Marian mediation because of their rejection of all human mediation. Moreover, while there were some excesses in popular Marian piety, Marian doctrine as taught in the pre-Reformation era drew its inspiration from the witness of Scripture and was rooted in Christology. The real reason for the break with the past must be attributed to the iconoclastic passion of the followers of the Reformation and the consequences of some Reformation principles. Even more influential in the break with Mary was the influence of the Enlightenment Era which essentially questioned or denied the mysteries of faith.

          Unfortunately the Marian teachings and preachings of the Reformers have been “covered up” by their most zealous followers – with damaging theological and practical consequences. This “cover-up” can be detected even in Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective, an Evangelical critique of Mariology. One of the contributors admits that “Most remarkable to modern Protestants is the Reformers’ almost universal acceptance of Mary’s continuing virginity, and their widespread reluctance to declare Mary a sinner”. He then asks if it is “a favourable providence” that kept these Marian teachings of the Reformers from being “transmitted to the Protestant churches”!17

          What is interpreted as “Providence” by a Marian critic may legitimately be interpreted as a force of a very different kind by a Christian who has recognized the role of Mary in God’s plan.
          If you wish, you can go to the website of Catholic Apologetics and type in “The Protestant Reformers on Mary” and these quotes will come up along with documentation and footnotes.

          These views on Holy Mary the Mother of God, a title accepted universally by all Christians since the early ecumenical councils of the Church, are clearly implied from and not the least bit inconsistent with Holy Scripture. Who but one preserved from the stain or original sin would be fit to nurture Our Lord both within and without the womb?

          Indeed as I noted in my first post, Sola Scriptura, is an impossibility since the Protestant bible is indeed short 7 Old Testament books, some of which clearly prove disputed doctrines such as purgatory and the efficacy of prayers for the dead. ( I Maccabees for one).

          Further, without a living breathing teaching Faith, empowered and authorized by Christ in His express directives to the Apostles in Matthew chs. 16 & 18, there is no coherent way to teach authoritatively on many pertinent issues of the day; matters that were not directly touched on in scripture.

          To take but one example, the entire Christian world, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant, universally condemned artificial contraception; our Protestant brethren doing so for some 400 years, until the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican church in 1930 whereupon for the first time ever in the history of the Christian people, a body of the faithful accepted contraception, albeit only under “limited circumstances” which within a decade or so became rather unlimited. How so and why? Scripture hadn’t changed, yet after 400 years of Sola Scriptura a radical change was made, one which soon filtered down to all Protestant communities until now, to the best of my knowledge, not one teaches that such methods are inherently immoral.

          I could offer many other examples of basic moral teaching being compromised by professing “Sola Scriptura” faithful but this one will suffice to make the clear and undeniable point. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura; itself nowhere taught in scripture, is wholly inadequate for the propagation of the Christian faith. Further I haven’t yet discussed the harm the lack of firmly founded sacramental teaching has had on the disunity within the Protestant world.

          All the best to you on your journey of faith!

          Chris C.

          • Kathy

            Thank you again, Chris. You sure went above and beyond in explaining your position and it’s much appreciated. I probably should have mentioned that I was raised a Lutheran and attended the Catholic church with my husband for 30 years, so I can say my familiarity with the faiths is pretty extensive. I chose to leave both after years of doubt about what was being taught and practiced.

            I never doubted that the Virgin Mary is the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God. It is plain to see right there in God’s Word. “The main things are the plain things, the plain things are the main things”. It is the assumptions made about her by men in order to place her on a pedestal that I question. You mentioned God deserves our undivided devotion in another message. If people are praying to Mary, saints and angels, they are sharing in the devotion that should be strictly given to God. I don’t believe He would be at all pleased with that.

            You are providing “Quotes from Catholic Apologetics”. I much prefer and give more credence to God’s Word rather than the word of His created beings. If what they say aligns with what He says in Scripture, it is worth paying attention to. That includes all moral teachings. If they are pronouncing something that is not included in the Bible (that includes all denominational doctrine), it is to be ignored.

            I really could write a book on what I have learned these past 6 years, Chris, but to be brief, I have come to the conclusion that is rather simple. We make things way more complicated than they need to be. Love God with all of our hearts, minds and souls, love others and help those in need, continually study and strive to obey God’s Word (His commandments, Jesus’ teachings) and praise Him with much gratitude and thankfulness.

            As you know, God created us to be in communion with Him. He loves us so much and so longs to be with us that He sent His son to take the punishment that we deserve for our rebellion against Him. He raised Jesus from the dead, who is sitting at the right hand of God, not perpetually hanging on a cross for our sins as I recently learned Catholics are taught. I always wondered why a sanitized (Jesus was beaten so badly as to be almost unrecognizable) crucifix was always so prominent in the RC church. He is risen and alive, no longer dying on a cross.

            We now attend a non-denominational church. They focus strictly on the truth in Scripture, nothing added, nothing taken away. I agree that all of the conflicting Christian denominations foster division and the mainline Protestants have not been strict enough on moral issues, hence my no longer ascribing to my childhood faith or my husband’s former faith. He has joined me after much searching for himself. However, as far as Sola Scriptura, please read Revelation 22:18-20. Could not be any clearer than that.

            All of the best of our Father’s blessings to you, Chris.

          • Kathy

            Chris, as happened to you, a post of mine from early this morning in reply to your post was taken down after a few hours. I can’t fathom why it was other than I wrote something that was possibly a “misrepresentation damaging to any party”. I had stated that I learned something recently that may have turned out not to be true, but had no reason to question it. It was written by one of this websites very reputable Catholic contributors and could possibly have been an opinion of his rather than a doctrine of the Catholic faith. I have no idea, so it’s futile for me to rewrite my response since I can’t figure out why it was removed. Do you remember seeing it before that?

          • Chris C.

            I saw I had a notification but when I went to read it it was gone. Maybe if you omit mentioning a name it’ll get through. Up to you.

          • Kathy

            I mentioned no names. That is the only statement I could think of that may have been controversial. I did not research it after originally reading it in the article, so I am guilty of not practicing what I preach! The post was lengthy (not quite as long as yours), but to rewrite it would take some time. Maybe later I will just attempt to summarize it. Thanks, Chris!

          • Vincent J.

            I noticed that all of your posts are not displayed, but are linked under a note which says “awaiting moderation.” Apparently, somebody is going down the page and flagging each of your posts, because you, the author, are openly sola scriptura.

          • Kathy

            Another try, but more brief. Thank you for explaining and citing references regarding your reasons for your beliefs about Mary, etc. You certainly went above and beyond, Chris!

            You referenced “Quotes from Catholic Apologetics”. I prefer to refer to God’s Word rather than the proclamations made by His created beings, including Luther and Calvin. If what they say aligns with the Word, it is most definitely worth paying attention to. If not, I believe it should be ignored. Mary is absolutely the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who IS God, and she was a virgin when she conceived through the Holy Spirit…no refuting that. It is unmistakably clear in Scripture. ( I realized I used a quote pertaining to that without referencing the author of it in that post that was removed. That may be the reason?)

            Rather than continuing to dialogue about specifics which we clearly disagree on, I would prefer to tell you what I have learned these past 6 years. I was raised in the Lutheran faith and attended the Catholic church with my husband for 30 years. Considering my background, my knowledge of both faiths is pretty extensive.

            After experiencing many doubts for a number of years and researching to confirm or refute my thoughts, I came to a rather simple conclusion: To love God with all of our heart, mind and soul, trust is Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf as the final payment for our debt of rebellion and sin, past, present and future (He said “It is finished” at the end of his suffering on the cross), love others and help those in need, consistently strive to study and obey God’s Word (easy when you know and love Him) and share the Good News with our fallen world, getting worse by the minute, as you know.

            I agree that Mainline Protestantism has been very lax on moral issues like abortion and divorce, and becoming even more so with their stance on homosexuality, probably reasons for declining attendance in those churches. I must commend the Catholics for always staying strong on those issues. That seems to be changing as well, though. That is why I suggested not pledging allegiance to popes and other hierarchy when they stray from Biblical authority.

            Orthodox Biblical Christianity is what I am now committed to..nothing added and nothing taken away from the Bible. Our pastors are strictly teachers of Scripture, insist on our adherence to it and admit that they are no more “holy” than any lay believer. We observe both biblical mandates of Baptism and Communion as sacraments, as you mentioned. No man-created rituals, rules and traditions to distract us from nurturing our relationship with our Father. Jesus chastised the Pharisees for that very issue!

            Humans tend to make everything more complicated than it needs to be. Could be an issue of power and perceived authority and dominance over others or we just find it difficult to believe that we don’t have to work to earn God’s favor and forgiveness. That is what every religion other than Christianity teaches. We are unique in that respect.

            I look forward to your feedback, Chris. We will have to stop at some point, but just giving you my perspective is what I thought was important to convey at his time in the conversation. Thanks again!

          • Chris C.

            The laxity of mainline Protestantism on moral issues is due to the inherent flaw in Sola Scriptura Christianity. Divine Revelation was manifest in the living Sacred Tradition of Christ’s Church BEFORE the divinely inspired writings of the New Testament were written. It is clear from the epistles of St. Paul, that there was already an ongoing teaching tradition even before he penned his sacred works.

            Further, as I noted earlier, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura upon which Protestant Christians rely, is not evident in the very scriptures that they hold supremely authoritative. And your bible, as I noted earlier, is incomplete. It is short 7 old testament works, excised by order of Martin Luther himself, something that no Pope has ever done and an act contrary to the scriptural command to not add or detract from scripture. Deut. 4:2, 12:32. Likewise, Luther added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28 changing the meaning of the phrase in evident violation of the command of Rev. 22:18, since the word “alone” does not appear in the original Greek.

            Additionally, if there is anything upon which all Christians should agree to take literally, it is the teaching of Christ our Lord on the Eucharist. His words in John chapter 6 could not be clearer, especially when considered alongside the Last Supper narratives and I Cor. 11: 21-29, which only makes sense in view of Church teaching on the eucharist, a teaching also confirmed in an early apostolic non-biblical source, the Didache.

            In fact without a clear doctrinally sound understanding of the sacraments, one cannot explain the growth of the Christian faith, or how God’s saving grace could have been communicated directly to so many across cultural and tribal boundaries. Indeed, what good would a reading of scripture do to the vast multitude which was illiterate and without means to procure a bible until the time of the printing press? Did God abandon them for 1500 years without a means of sanctifying grace? By no means. He gave them, through the Holy Apostolic Church, the sacraments. He still does today.

            I don’t doubt that you are sincere in your beliefs. However, as Christians we are called to personal holiness and called to defend our faith. To go back to our earlier examples, what does a Sola Scriptura Christian have to say about artificial contraception, which in some forms has abortifacient properties? Does a “scripture alone” belief mandate the pre-Lambeth(1930) view which condemned such methods, or the post-Lambeth view which permits them? Gay marriage, abortion, take your pick. Many of these moral issues have scripture alone advocates on all sides. How is one to teach family or friends right from wrong, without authoritative answers? I suggest that they can only do so if they adhere to sound Catholic doctrinal teaching, based on Divine Revelation in the forms of sacred scripture and sacred tradition and as interpreted by the sacred magisterium of the Church, and in no other way.

            Further ponder this: even relying on scripture alone, you are in effect affirming your need for a Holy Church under apostolic authority, established by Christ our Lord. Scripture didn’t simply fall into Martin Luther’s lap in 1517. The Church, acting in a number of ecumenical councils under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, carefully discerned works that were divinely inspired from those that were not. You wouldn’t have a bible to read, reflect on, and base your knowledge of God on, were it not for an authoritative act of a Church empowered by Christ to act in His name.

            I hope you will see your way to come home to the Catholic Church. Christ founded only one Church not a multitude.

          • Kathy

            The Catholic church was never my home. I attended the church, going through the motions as I did at the Lutheran church, but at least I was going to church every week! That was my thinking back then, fulfilling my duty and weekly routine. I enjoyed being there, but wouldn’t live it out the rest of the week.

            That has changed dramatically since leaving them both and studying for myself. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes in the process and provided the wisdom and discernment needed to understand Scripture on my own, at least what was not too difficult to figure out. That is the role of clergy and Bible studies…to help us in understanding the hard parts, elaborating on the meaning of it all and encouraging us to ask questions if need be. As the disciples on the road to Emmaus said to each other after they encountered the risen Lord, I can say “did not our hearts burn within us (me)? I finally understood what it’s all about, but it is a lifelong process of learning and growing.

            Know you mentioned many times that Luther removed 7 books of the Bible.. just knew the two Bibles did not include all of the same books. I did not know the answer to that, so asked a number of learned men at my church to explain the reason for that. They said the books are books of history, instruction and tradition. There was nothing “wrong” with any of them. They were just determined to not be written under the inspiration of God because their content was not backed up in and not relevant to the rest of the books in the Bible. For example, I believe purgatory (at least an illusion to it) was mentioned in the Maccabees, but in no other book. Jesus spoke of heaven and hell numerous times…no reference to any other final destination whatsoever.

            Re: Contraception: God said in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply. That speaks for itself and our conscious also tells us to procreate, if we are able. There are natural methods to use if people don’t want 20 children in 20 years and I think even ancient civilization could have figured that out for themselves. People need to take responsibility for their own actions. That is the real issue.

            I have some questions: You agreed that God alone deserves our undivided devotion. Why do Catholics pray to and give much reverence to Mary, saints, angels and their myriad clergy? That appears to me to be divided devotion. God says he is a jealous God and deserves all of the glory due Him. He will not share His glory and His children’s devotion with any man-made god or His own created beings, which all of the above are. Rather than refer to what your church tradition says, does that make sense to you personally? More importantly, what does God Himself say about it as you understand it?

            What did you think of the “conclusion” I said I came to after questioning and studying for myself…what I believe are the main tenets of our faith? Would you add anything at all to that, or would you remove any of it?

            What do you think are the means of our salvation? That is once of the most important questions we should all ponder.

          • Chris C.

            I’ll be out for a bit, may not answer until tomorrow.

          • Kathy

            I admire and commend you for your devotion and knowledge regarding your faith. Many Christians of all denominations I am acquainted with don’t care to know the details, they are content with just “going through the motions”. Very sad and possibly very harmful.

            Guess we could debate details all day long. If we both really wanted to return to our “proper home”, it would be to the first century church where Jewish believers and Gentile believers worshiped together. There were no “Christians” at the time. As you know, the apostles, including Paul, were all Jewish, as was Christ Himself.

            We attended a Messianic Synagogue for a while (Jewish believers in Yeshua along with 50% of the congregation being Christian…many former Catholics) to learn more about them. We were given a fascinating timeline and learned a lot that we were never taught in our churches, including how the Roman Catholic church actually came into being. Of course, the Reformation was explained as well.

            No, the Bible does not mention “contraception” nor does it mention “abortion”. We just know that murdering human beings, even in the womb, is an abomination to God. We don’t need a human authority to tell us that. That is what I am getting at…if we have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit after being born again, He reveals the meaning of God’s Word to us. It is not a strict privilege of church hierarchy. (The Pope is once again backing down on truth, an indication right there not to put our faith in everything any mere man says.)

            The veil in the temple that separated us from God because of our sin and rebellion against Him was torn in two when Jesus took the punishment we deserved on Himself, thereby granting DIRECT access to the Father to those who trust in that sacrifice. That is the reason I don’t believe we should need the help of spirits to intercede for us. John was chastised in Revelation for bowing to an angel who said only God is worthy of that kind of reverence.

            I stand by what I think are the main tenets of our faith, but did want to clarify a possible misunderstanding you may have about my belief regarding faith and works, since you mentioned the book of James (Luther wanted to remove it) where he discusses that. We are not saved by our works at all (“that no one should boast”), but by our trust in Jesus’ sacrifice. It is our works prompted by our faith because of our love and gratitude to God that matter. All other religions focus on working their way to God’s favor and acceptance. Christianity is the exception, don’t you agree?

        • Vincent J.

          It’s interesting that Jesus told us that there was one other human who was greater than all others (except Jesus, of course), and that human was / is not Mary.

          Matthew 11:11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist ….

  • ArthurMcGowan

    Being seamless has had another effect.

    Cardinal Donald Wuerl has always referred to Denial of Communion as a “penalty.” Thus, he is able to claim that he has the right, as bishop, to exercise discretion about whether to “apply the penalty.” For indeed, this is normal with respect to penalties.

    But Denial of Communion is NOT a penalty. It is a discipline that is MANDATED by the moral law and canon law. (And canon 915 is not a penal canon.)

    Cardinal Wuerl has always insisted that it is wrong to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians without knowing “the state of the soul” of the would-be communicant. But Denial of Communion has NEVER been predicated on any supposed knowledge (on the part of the minister) of the SUBJECTIVE guilt of the would-be communicant.

    Now this fraudulent “principle,” once invoked for the benefit of Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi, forms the pivotal point of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, for the benefit of adulterous and fornicating male/female pairs, and same-sex couples–all of whom have been publicly invited to receive Communion by every Francis-appointed Cardinal in the U.S., and a number of bishops and archbishops.

    Several times, a crushing majority of the American bishops have voted to approve “Catholics in Political Life”–a document which declares that a bishop may “legitimately” give Communion to pro-abortion politicians.

    Just one problem: doing so is a mortal sin–because every time canon 915 is violated, the act is a source of grave scandal.

    That’s right: An overwhelming majority of the American bishops have voted, multiple times in the last 13 years, to authorize themselves to commit mortal sin.

    Being Seamless is a sign of apathy about abortion. So is giving Communion to pro-abortion politicians. Actually voting to give oneself permission to commit mortal sin is a sign of intellectual putrefaction.

    Only about ten American bishops have publicly declared an intention to obey canon 915.

    It has been a long road, but it has been traveled in a mere 13 years: from a few bishops’ sophistical, ad hoc statements designed to rationalize cowardice in the face of politicians (or greed for federal dollars), to an apostolic exhortation that attacks all Catholic moral teaching.

    • Aliquantillus

      Card. Wuerl is one of the most wicked Churchmen we now have in the US. A couple of years ago he removed a faithful priest from his position for refusing communion to two glaringly open lesbians. Wuerl is pro-homosexualist, pro communion for the civilly divorced and remariied, &c, &c. Just like Cupich, from a catholic perspective he is a complete fake.

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