Contra Protestantism

Virgin Mary Crucified?

Written by Boniface

In their attempts to discredit Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary and demonstrate that Mary takes the place of Jesus in Catholic piety, Protestants have sometimes made the assertion that different Catholic shrines around the world depict Mary as crucified for the sins of mankind, essentially sending the message that Mary, not Jesus, is the Savior of the world. This accusation appears in the popular evangelical book Fast Facts on False Teachings by Ron Carlson and Ed Decker (2003), where the authors speak of an altar in the Cathedral of Quito, Ecuador, that features an altar with a crucified statue of Mary above it. The same accusation is made in the video Catholicism: Crisis of Faith by Lumen Productions, an anti-Catholic video produced by disgruntled ex-Catholics. The implication is that Catholics believe they owe their salvation to Mary, not Jesus.

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I am of Paul, I am of Apollos

Written by Boniface

 In the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, we see Paul in two distinct places giving warnings to the Corinthian Church about boasting about their ministers. The Church in Corinth had been built up by St. Paul with the help of Apollos, an Alexandrian Jewish convert who was known for his erudition and powerful preaching. Shortly after the founding of the Church of Corinth, around 55 AD, dissension and schism broke out among the Christians there over sectarian disputes. It is regarding these disputes that Paul addresses the following passage:

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you: but that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?...For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made void" (1 Cor. 1:10-13, 17).

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Assumption: Not a Question of History

Written by Boniface
 
The Church's doctrine on the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is usually treated with scorn by Protestants, who of course do not acknowledge the unique role of Mary in salvation history. There are many objections: the doctrine is "not biblical"; it was "invented" in 1950; in makes Mary into a rival of Christ for our affection, etc...Before I came back to the Church, I used to be skeptical of this doctrine; "Assumption? It sure is one giant assumption, since the Bible says nothing about it," I used to say to myself.

It is not the concept of an Assumption that is so problematic - Protestants of course acknowledge that both Enoch and Elijah were assumed alive into heaven, as the Scriptures state. The problem is not with the concept of an assumption, as much as whether or not one specific individual - Our Lady - was in fact assumed body and soul into heaven.
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Petra vs. Petros: The Silence of Luther and the Greeks

Written by Boniface

If petros and petra are such astonishingly different words in the Greek that upon their meaning hinges the validity of the papacy, why did neither Martin Luther nor the Greek Orthodox take notice of this fact in their disputes with the popes? Most educated Catholics are probably familiar with the argument raised by non-Catholics about Peter being called the "Rock" in Matthew 16 that is based upon drawing a distinction between the two Greek words petra and petros.

If you are not familiar with this argument, Google it and you'll come up with a lot of material on it from Protestant and Catholic apologists. I think it is a rather weak argument; Patrick Madrid has dealt with it admirably here. Catholic Answers has a helpful tract about the topic as well, and Steve Ray's book Upon This Rock uses a plethora of sources, including Protestant scholarship, to dismantle this common Protestant objection.

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The Pridefulness of Sola Scriptura

Written by Boniface
Besides the many arguments against the Protestant concept of Sola Scriptura from history, Scripture and logic, I think we could posit another fourth category of objections based on the subjective dispositions such a doctrine brings about in those who adhere to it. It is my contention that the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura leads to a prideful disposition in the soul, which is forced by logical necessity to invest its own opinions with the authority of divine revelation. The Catholic teaching of an authoritative Church that hands on doctrine, however, leads the soul to humility and docility, for the doctrine is received as a gift given gratuitously. Let us examine this further.

Catholics and Protestants come at the truth through two different avenues. In Catholic theology, we look at the content of Divine Revelation and interpret it through the lens of our own tradition, which we hold to be authoritative. Thus, while certain questions are open for discussion, there are many others which we hold as "settled."
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