What are the essentials of the Christian faith?

December 30, 2009

Originally posted 12/30/2009.

The anti-Catholic{1} online ministry Got Questions recently posted an answer to the question, “What are the essentials of the Christian faith?”{2} I answer that, if you firmly believe in the articles of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381, you have the grace and honor of being a Christian:
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The Scriptures Say Jesus the Messiah Is True God

December 12, 2009

Originally posted 12/12/2009.

Included below is some prophecy and fulfillment in the only-begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ Who suffered on the Cross for our salvation.

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Ancient Use of Unleavened Bread

December 11, 2009

Originally posted 12/11/2009.

MYTH
Catholic use of unleavened bread is an 11th-century Judaizing innovation

The Eastern Orthodox Church rejects the legitimacy of unleavened bread,{1} but the Catholic Church does not attack the legitimacy of leavened bread. Latin Catholics follow the institution of our Lord, Who did not transgress the Law [Mt 5:17] and thus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper [Mt 26:17; Mk 14:12; Lk 22:7]. Archbishop St. John Chrysostom the Great says that Christ celebrated the Last Supper with unleavened bread [PG 58:754]. Such use is fitting because it conforms to the sincerity of the faithful [1 Cor 5:7] and the fact that the body of Christ was not conceived with any corruption. There are plenty of witnesses to the use of unleavened bread well before the schism of Patriarch Michael I Cerularios of Constantinople. They include Alcuin of York [PL 100:289], Bl. Archbishop Rabanus Maurus of Mainz in the early 800s [PL 107:318,324], and Origen of Alexandria [PG 13:988CD989ABC]. Several more are included in Cardinal Hergenröther’s magnum opus on Photios, vol. 3, p. 787. Moreover, in the first century Philo the Jew testifies that Christians in Alexandria used unleavened bread in the Liturgy [On the Contemplative Life p. 19 sec. X]. Other possible witnesses include Archbishop St. Gregory I the Theologian of Constantinople [PG 35:397A] and Pope St. Leo I the Great of Rome [Sermon 63:7].

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The Church Fathers on the Magi As Kings

December 10, 2009

Originally posted 12/10/2009.

MYTH
None of the Church Fathers call the Magi kings

Update 10/2/2016: Can anyone help with translations of Hugo Kehrer†, Die Heiligen drei Könige in Literatur und Kunst (Leipzig: Verlag von E. A. Seamann, 1908) <https://ia902606.us.archive.org/35/items/dieheiligendrei00kehrgoog/dieheiligendrei00kehrgoog.pdf>?

Update 10/22/2016, feast of Pope St. John Paul II: Stay tuned for updates based on Lapide, Maldonado (https://ia802609.us.archive.org/12/items/acommentarygospe01malduoft/acommentarygospe01malduoft.pdf), Baronius, etc.

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of King Herod, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him. And King Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Judah. For so it is written by the prophet: And thou Bethlehem the land of Judah art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come forth the Captain that shall rule My people Israel. Then Herod, privately calling the wise men learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; and sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore Him. Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the East, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary His mother, and falling down they adored Him: and opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country. And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and His mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose, and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called My Son. Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry: and sending killed all the menchildren that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

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St. Gregory the Theologian & Filioque

December 10, 2009

Originally posted 11/30/2009.

Culled from various sections of my upcoming paper on the Cappadocian Fathers and Filioque:

In Oration 29:2{26} (the Third Theological Oration) on the Son, St. Gregory the Theologian (†390) says, “The Father is the Begetter and the Emitter … The Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the Emission …”{27} In the same section, he suggests confining the discussion to “the Unbegotten and the Begotten and That which proceeds from the Father, as somewhere God the Word Himself says.” Does this imply that the Son has no role in the ontological procession of the Holy Spirit? Fr. Jugie gives a negative answer, explaining that St. Gregory does not rule out the idea that the Son has it from the Father that He is also προβολεύς.{28} The fairness of the scholar’s explanation becomes apparent when we compare St. Gregory’s statement from this oration with comments he makes elsewhere.

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The Mythical Fall of Pope St. Liberius

December 9, 2009

Originally posted 12/9/2009.

MYTH
Pope Liberius signed the Semi-Arian formula of Sirmium while in exile

J.N.D. Kelly accuses Pope St. Liberius of capitulating under pressure, and says that he wrote four compromising letters,{1} when in fact these letters are hoaxes.{2} We can cut right through the conflicting testimony{3} as to whether Pope St. Liberius the Confessor of Rome (3/17/352-9/24/366) signed a heretical formula and acquit him on the following a priori grounds: (1) The Roman emperor Constantius II (the heretical son of Emperor St. Constantine I the Great) would have made known to everyone the pope’s fall such that no one could possibly doubt it.{4} (2) The pope would have been guilty of “laughable” hypocrisy if he did not publicly repent of signing the heretical creed before his post-Rimini decree that lapsed bishops were not to be reinstated if they did not sincerely prove their opposition to the Arians.{5} He definitely did not publicly confess and do penance for such a crime.{6}

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The Mythical Fall of Pope St. Marcellinus

December 9, 2009

Originally posted 12/9/2009.

MYTH
Pope St. Marcellinus apostatized, turned over the sacred books, and offered incense to pagan gods

Unprovable Charge Comes From Unreliable Sources
1. Anglican scholar John Norman Davidson Kelly (†3/31/1997), author of The Oxford Dictionary of Popes says that Pope St. Marcellinus (6/30/296-10/25/304) gave up the Sacred Books and offered incense to pagan gods.{1} The most that the historian can conclude from the accusation of Donatist Bishop Petilianus of Constantine in Africa is that there were rumors to to that effect in Africa.{2} The heretic could not provide any proof of his assertion, nor could anyone else,{3} or else the Doctor of Grace, Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo [Against the Letters of Petilianus], could not have so firmly vouched for the maligned pope.{4} Furthermore, the holy pope was not named in the document brought by the Donatists to the Catholic-Donatist conference in Carthage, “the Acts of confiscation of the church buildings at Rome.”{5}

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