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Copyright © 2010, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - March, 2010 [Plain text version]

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+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Newsletter - March, 2010

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* Lenten Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

* Catholic Trivia

* Liturgical Feasts in March

* Jesus' Last Words (From the Cross)

* "Prayers to Jesus by the Merit of Each Particular Pain Which He Suffered in His Passion"

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Concept of Authority in the Church? Do You Believe That Obedience is Not Due to Any Hierarchy in the Church?

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Dear Friend,

We hope you are having a blessed, holy Lent and will be wholeheartedly encouraged to continue your worthy Lenten penitential practices remembering that "following Jesus in the 'Lenten desert' is...a necessary condition to participating in his Easter" (Pope Benedict XVI)

Also, for Lenten resources such as...

* Lent / Easter Activities

* Lenten Prayers

* Traditional Prayers & Practices

* Stations of the Cross / Way of the Cross

* Devotions / Pious Practices

* Stabat Mater (Sequence)

* Indulgence Information [Reminder: A plenary indulgence may be available on Fridays in Lent and on Holy Thursday]

* Lenten Scripture Resources

...please refer to our February 2010 newsletter archived at

We thank you very much for your support of our newsletter and wish you God's blessings,

Your Friends at

P.S. Please note that our April 2010 newsletter will be issued a few days late in order to more closely correspond with Easter which falls this year on April 4th.

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MCS News & Notes

* New: We have opened the 2010 archived news brief index. To view, go to

* New: We have added links to the top of each of the A-Z pages in the General A-Z Index to provide easier access to similar index pages for Reflections, Scripture, and Prayers. We have also added some scrolling text on the top of these pages. To view the General A-Z Index, please go to . We hope you find these additions helpful.

* The previously announced shortcuts page should be available soon. Please note that the shortcuts we have created are URL shortcuts which work in browsers. They may NOT work in search engines. To use a shortcut, simply use the 'shortcut URL' instead of a full URL in your browser. For example, to use the "" shortcut, enter "" (or "") in your browser instead of the full URL. Please remember shortcuts are for BROWSERS, not search engines. Shortcuts may not work in search engines.

* The printout mentioned in last month's newsletter is now available for purchase. If you signed up to be notified of its availability, you should have already received the notification. If not, note that it may be purchased for a short time at an introductory price at the following location:

* The 'post of the month' page has been updated for 2/10. This month it was chosen from the Catholic Life Section and it is titled "Useful exercise for being around difficult people". To view the 'post of the month' page, please go to: . To submit a post in your choice of hundreds of categories, visit

* Reminder: To help ensure delivery of your newsletter, please put our e-mail addresses (for both our regular newsletter AND our news updates) in your 'trusted senders' list - or use other applicable options your e-mail provider may offer to let them know that our e-mail is wanted.

* Please visit the "Notices" page for timely news and other important information regarding -

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The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

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"Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah." (Mt. 1:15-16)

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St. Joseph Reflections -

Prayers to St. Joseph -

Encyclical on Devotion to St. Joseph -

St. Joseph Coloring Page -

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Catholic Trivia

1. What is the name of the Maundy Thursday practice where the bishop or priest imitates Jesus' washing of feet in John, Chapter 13?

2. Which gospel omits mention of Jesus' passion?

3. What is a Latin word for abstinence/self-denial?

4. What sequence begins with "At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last"?

5. What does "Conceptio Christi" refer to?

6. What does quadragena refer to?

7. According to tradition, what is the name of the 'good thief' who was crucified alongside Jesus, and, where does Scripture speak of him?

8. Who said...? "It is certain that, if I had sinned less, Thou, my Jesus, wouldst have suffered less."

9. Where is this Scripture passage from? "They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring. I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death. For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet. They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me. They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots."

10. How does St. Francis de Sales describe Mount Calvary?



1. Mandatum is a Maundy Thursday practice where the bishop or priest imitates Jesus' washing of feet in John, Chapter 13.

2. None of the gospels omit mention of Jesus' passion.

3. Continentia.

4. Stabat Mater.

5. The Feast of the Annunciation (traditionally celebrated on March 25).

6. Latin for forty day period.

7. St. Dismas, spoken of in Lk. 23:40-43.

8. St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church.

9. Ps. 21 (or 22):14-19.

10. "Mount Calvary is the academy of love." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)


For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at

You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at

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Liturgical Feasts in March

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for March as they appear at

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

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March 4 - St. Casimir of Lithuania (T)

March 4 - St. Lucius I, pope (T)

March 4 - St. Casimir (N)

March 6 - Sts. Perpetua & Felicitas (T)

March 7 - St. Thomas Aquinas (T)

March 7 - Sts. Perpetua & Felicity (N)

March 8 - St. John of God (T)

March 8 - St. John of God (N)

March 9 - St. Frances of Rome (T)

March 9 - St. Frances of Rome (N)

March 10 - Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (T)

March 12 - St. Gregory the Great, pope (T)

March 17 - St. Patrick of Ireland (T)

March 17 - St. Patrick of Ireland (N)

March 18 - St. Cyril of Jerusalem (T)

March 18 - St. Cyril of Jerusalem (N)

March 19 - St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

March 19 - St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

March 21 - St. Benedict (T)

March 22 - St. Catharine Flisca Adorna (T)

March 22 - St. Isidore the Farmer (T)

March 23 - St. Turibius de Mongrovejo (N)

March 24 - St. Gabriel the Archangel (T)

March 25 - Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

March 25 - Annunciation of the Lord (N)

March 27 - St. John Damascene (T)

March 28 - St. John Capistran (T)

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts see below & try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at

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Please Note: Other Important Dates in March & Early April 2010...

Palm Sunday: 3/28/10

Spy Wednesday: 3/31/10

Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday): 4/1/10

Good Friday: 4/2/10

Holy Saturday: 4/3/10

Easter Sunday: 4/4/10

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Jesus' Last Words (From the Cross)



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Note: These precious last phrases uttered by our Savior may make excellent passages for regular reflection.

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=> Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." (Lk. 23:34)


* The great depths of Jesus' love and mercy, even towards those who unjustly mock, accuse, persecute, and torture him

* "Because the Lord had said, Pray for them that persecute you, this likewise He did, when He ascended the cross, as it follows, Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, not that He was not able Himself to pardon them, but that He might teach us to pray for our persecutors, not only in word, but in deed also. But He says, Forgive them, if they should repent. For He is gracious to the penitent, if they are willing after so great wickedness to wash away their guilt by faith." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

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=> [Jesus] replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Lk. 23:43)


* The importance of confession, repentance, and faith

* As long as one is alive, it is never too late for a penitent sinner to receive forgiveness

* "And as every king who returns victorious carries in triumph the best of his spoils, so the Lord having despoiled the devil of a portion of his plunder, carries it with Him into Paradise." (Theophylact, as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

* "[T]he Lord ever gives more than He is asked for. The thief asked that He should remember him, but our Lord answers, Verily I say to you, This day shall you be with me in Paradise." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

* "Here then might one see the Savior between the thieves weighing in the scales of justice faith, and unbelief. The devil cast Adam out of Paradise. Christ brought the thief into Paradise before the whole world, before the Apostles. By a mere word and by faith alone+ he entered into Paradise, that no one after his sins might despair of entrance. Mark the rapid change, from the cross to heaven, from condemnation to Paradise, that you may know that the Lord did it all, not with regard to the thief's good intention, but His own mercy." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church) [+ Note: Clearly his remarks were prompted by faith, but this faith coupled with his actions/comments are what led to his being saved. Notice that his comments (1) expressed fear of God, (2) were a confession of guilt, (3) showed acceptance of his punishment as just, and (4) were a public profession of his faith in Christ ("Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal...Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.")]

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=> When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (Jn. 19:26-27)


* Jesus symbolically gives his mother to the faithful (and vice versa) [see Rv. 12:17]. This act also shows Jesus' honor and concern for His beloved mother. Note: This passage also testifies to the fact that Jesus didn't have biological brothers (as some non-Catholics mistakenly claim) since it would have been inappropriate for Jesus to give his mother to a non-relative if she had other children to care for her.

* "Mary the mother of our Lord stood before the cross of her Son. None of the Evangelists hath told me this except John. The others have related how that at our Lord's Passion the earth quaked, the heaven was overspread with darkness, the sun fled, the thief was taken into paradise after confession. John hath told us, what the others have not, how that from the cross whereon He hung, He called to His mother. He thought it a greater thing to show Him victorious over punishment, fulfilling the offices of piety to His mother, than giving the kingdom of heaven and eternal life to the thief. For if it was religious to give life to the thief, a much richer work of piety it is for a son to honor his mother with such affection. Behold, He says, your son; behold your mother. Christ made His Testament from the cross, and divided the offices of piety between the Mother and the disciples. Our Lord made not only a public, but also a domestic Testament. And this His Testament John sealed a witness worthy of such a Testator. A good testament it was, not of money, but of eternal life, which was not written with ink, but with the spirit of the living God: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Mary, as became the mother of our Lord, stood before the cross, when the Apostles fled and with pitiful eyes beheld the wounds of her Son. For she looked not on the death of the Hostage, but on the salvation of the world" (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

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=> Mt. 27:46: And about three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

=> Mk. 15:34: And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"


* Despite his agony, the ever-faithful Jesus doesn't doubt his Father. His cry is usually associated with Psalm 21/22, "The prayer of an innocent person": "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish? ... "

* "He uttered this word of prophecy, that He might bear witness to the very last hour to the Old Testament, and that they might see that He honors the Father, and is not against God. And therefore too, He used the Hebrew tongue, that what He said might be intelligible to them." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

* "But it must be asked, What means this, that Christ is forsaken of God? Some, unable to explain how Christ could be forsaken of God, say that this was spoken out of humility. But you will be able clearly to comprehend His meaning if you make a comparison of the glory which He had with the Father with the shame which He despised when He endured the cross." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), 3rd century A.D.]

* "God is said to have forsaken Him in death because He exposed Him to the power of His persecutors; He withdrew His protection, but did not break the union." (Early Gloss)

* "Or, The Savior said this as bearing about with Him our feelings, who when placed in dangers think ourselves forsaken by God. Human nature was forsaken by God because of its sins, and the Son of God becoming our Advocate laments the misery of those whose guilt He took upon Him; therein showing how they who sin ought to mourn, when He who never sinned did thus mourn." (Bl. Rabanus Maurus)

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=> Jn. 19:28-29: Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: "I thirst". Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to his mouth. [Douay-Rheims translation]


* This quotation may be a reference to Psalm 68/69, "A Cry of Anguish in Great Distress": " Save me, God, for the waters have reached my neck... Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak; I looked for compassion, but there was none, for comforters, but found none. Instead they put gall in my food; for my thirst they gave me vinegar."

* Also consider Psalm 21/22, "The Prayer of an Innocent Person": "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish? My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief... As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death."

* Also, consider Christ's thirst for souls and His thirst to drink the cup His Father has given him (cf. Jn. 18:11)

* "Thus the Source of living water is made to drink vinegar, the Giver of honey is fed with gall; Forgiveness is scourged, Acquittance is condemned, Majesty is mocked, Virtue ridiculed, the Bestower of showers is repaid with spitting." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

* "They were not softened at all by what they saw, but were the more enraged, and gave Him the cup to drink, as they did to criminals, i.e. with a hyssop." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

* "Vinegar is wine, which has turned sour either from neglect, or the fault of the vessel. Wine is the honor of immortality, or virtue. When this then had been turned sour in Adam, He took and drunk it at the hands of the Gentiles. It is offered to Him on a reed and a spurge; that is, He took from the bodies of the Gentiles immortality spoiled and corrupted, and transfused in Himself into a mixture of immortality that in us which was spoiled." (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church)

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=> Jn. 19:30: When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.


* "Then as there was nothing left Him to do before He died, it follows, And He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost, only dying when He had nothing more to do, like Him who had to lay down His life, and to take it up again." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

* "For whoever had such power to sleep when he wished, as our Lord had to die when He wished? What power must He have, for our good or evil, Who had such power dying?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

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=> Lk. 23:46: Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.


* Christ's abandonment to His Heavenly Father

* Note that Christ begins his last utterance from the Cross with the same word He began his first, namely "Father"

* "But crying with a loud voice He gives up the ghost, because He had in Himself the power of laying down His life and taking it up again." (Theophylact, as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

* "Also for this reason He cried out with a loud voice to show that this is done by His own power. For by crying out with a loud voice when dying, He showed incontestably that He was the true God; because a man in dying can scarcely utter even a feeble sound." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

* "The flesh dies that the Spirit may rise again. The Spirit is commended to the Father, that heavenly things also may be loosed from the chain of iniquity, and peace be made in heaven, which earthly things should follow." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

* Also consider: "Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God." (Psalm 30/31:5-6)

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"The cross of the Sufferer, is the chair of the Master." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

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"Prayers to Jesus by the Merit of Each Particular Pain Which He Suffered in His Passion"

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Note: The following is taken from a 19th century book compiled by Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance. The book bears an imprimatur. [Notice: We have made a couple slight changes below (i.e. changed the spelling of one word, added two apostrophes).]

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O my Jesus! by that humiliation which Thou didst practice in washing the feet of Thy disciples, I pray Thee to bestow upon me the grace of true humility, so that I may humble myself to all, especially to such as treat me with contempt.

My Jesus, by that sorrow which Thou didst suffer in the Garden, sufficient as it was to cause Thy death, I pray Thee to deliver me from the sorrow of hell, from living forevermore at a distance from Thee, and without the power of ever loving Thee again.

My Jesus, by that horror which Thou hadst of my sins, which were then present to Thy sight, give me a true sorrow for all the offences which I have committed against Thee.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst experience at seeing Thyself betrayed by Judas with a kiss, give me the grace to be ever faithful unto Thee, and nevermore to betray Thee, as I have done in time past.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst feel at seeing Thyself bound like a culprit to be taken before the judges, I pray Thee to bind me to Thyself by the sweet chains of holy love, that so I may nevermore see myself separated from Thee, my only Good.

My Jesus, by all those insults, buffetings, and spittings which Thou didst on that night suffer in the house of Caiphas, give me the strength to suffer in peace, for love of Thee, all the affronts which I shall meet with from men.

My Jesus, by that ridicule which Thou didst receive from Herod in being treated as a fool, give me the grace to endure with patience all that men shall say of me, treating me as base, senseless, or wicked.

My Jesus, by that outrage which Thou didst receive from the Jews in seeing Thyself placed after Barabbas, give me the grace to suffer with patience the dishonor of seeing myself placed after others.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst suffer in Thy most holy body when Thou wast so cruelly scourged, give me the grace to suffer with patience all the pains of my sicknesses, and especially those of my death.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst suffer in Thy most sacred head when it was pierced with the thorns, give me the grace never to consent to thoughts displeasing unto Thee.

My Jesus, by that act of Thine by which Thou didst accept of the death of the cross to which Pilate condemned Thee, give me the grace to accept of my death with resignation, together with all other pains which shall accompany it.

My Jesus, by the pain which Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy cross on Thy journey to Calvary, give me the grace to suffer with patience all my crosses in this life.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst suffer in having the nails driven through Thy hands and Thy feet, I pray Thee to nail my will unto Thy feet, that so I may will nothing save that which Thou dost will.

My Jesus, by the affliction which Thou didst suffer in having gall given Thee to drink, give me the grace not to offend Thee by intemperance in eating and drinking.

My Jesus, by that pain which Thou didst experience in taking leave of Thy holy Mother upon the cross, deliver me from an inordinate love of my relatives, or of any other creature, that so my heart may be wholly and always Thine.

My Jesus, by that desolation which Thou didst suffer in Thy death in seeing Thyself 'abandoned' by Thy eternal Father, give me the grace to suffer all my desolations with patience, without ever losing my confidence in Thy goodness.

My Jesus, by those three hours of affliction and agony which Thou didst suffer when dying upon the cross, give me the grace to suffer with resignation, for love of Thee, the pains of my agony at the hour of death.

My Jesus, by that great sorrow which Thou didst feel when Thy most holy soul, as Thou wast expiring, separated itself from Thy most sacred body, give me the grace to breathe forth my soul in the hour of my death, offering up my sorrow then to Thee, together with an act of perfect love, that so I may go to love Thee in heaven, face to face, with all my strength, and for all eternity.

And thee, most holy Virgin, and my Mother Mary, by that sword which pierced thy heart when thou didst behold thy Son bow down His head and expire, do I pray to assist me in the hour of my death, that so I may come to praise thee and to thank thee in paradise for all the graces that thou hast obtained for me from God.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Sacrament, Mother and model of adorers, pray for us, who have recourse to thee.

St. Joseph, pray for us, that like thee, we may die in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Note: For more prayers, please visit

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Concept of Authority in the Church? Do You Believe That Obedience is Not Due to Any Hierarchy in the Church?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topics: Do You Reject the Concept of Authority in the Church? Do You Believe That Obedience is Not Due to Any Hierarchy in the Church? (Note: Topics are directed at Protestants)


* If obedience is not due to the hierarchy in the Church, why does Scripture say "Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you" (Heb. 13:17)?

* If there is no authority in the Church, how could presbyters "lord it over" those who were assigned to them (see 1 Pt. 5:3)?

* If there is no authority in the Church, why would bishops be charged with "exhorting" and "refuting" (see Ti. 1:9)?

* If there is no authority in the Church, how can Scripture speak of those "who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you" (see 1 Thes. 5:12)?

* If there is no authority in the Church, how can St. Paul speak of the authority that the Lord has given him (see 2 Cor. 13:10)?

* What is the point of having a hierarchy in the Church if obedience is not due to them?

* How do you expect to have unity in the Church without authority? Without a final authority, how can one ever be certain in matters of doctrine?

* If you reject the concept of authority in the Church, do you reject all of the New Testament letters since they clearly indicate authority?

* How could the Church combat heresy without authority?

* How can there be no authority in the Church considering that Christ said...?

"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Mt. 16:17-19)

Are you unaware that keys are a symbol of authority?

* If there is no authority in the Church, why does Jesus tell Peter - three times - to tend to His sheep (see Jn. 21:15-17)?

* If there is no authority in the Church, how do you explain the fact that Peter took charge in choosing a successor to Judas (see Acts 1:15-26) and that he acted as head of the council in Acts 15:6-12? How do you explain the fact that decisions of the apostles were considered binding?

* If Peter had no authority, why did the angel instruct Cornelius to seek him (see Acts 10:5)?

* If Paul had no authority, why was he "appointed preacher and apostle and teacher" (2 Tm. 1:11)?

* If Peter had no authority in the Church, why did Paul - the apostle called directly by Christ after His Resurrection - go to Peter after his conversion (see Gal. 1:18)?

* If one does not need to obey authority, why does Scripture say...?

Rom 13:1-2: Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.

* If there is no authority in the Church, why does Scripture speak of...?

Apostles being given authority by Jesus (see Mt. 10:1, Mk. 6:7, Lk. 9:1)

Peter being given authority to bind and lose (see Mt. 16:19)

Apostles given authority to bind and loose (see Mt. 18:18)

Apostles given power to forgive sin (see Jn. 20:22-23)

Apostles handing down decisions of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 15:28)

* If obedience is not due to authority, what is the point of...?

Jesus commissioning the Apostles (see Mt. 28:19-20, Mk. 16:15-16, Jn. 20:21)

Appointing presbyters (priests) / laying on of hands (e.g. Acts 6:6, Acts 13:3, Acts 14:23, 1 Tm. 4:14, 1 Tm. 5:22, 2 Tm. 1:6, Ti. 1:5)

Having various offices (e.g. Acts 15:4, 1 Cor. 12:28-29, Eph. 4:11, Phil. 1:1, 1 Tm. 3:1, 1 Tm. 3:8, Ti. 1:7-9)

Being an ambassador of Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:20)

Having an apostolic foundation (Eph. 2:20, Rv. 21:14)

* How can you deny the concept of authority when it is clear in Scripture that St. Peter was the leader of the apostles? How do you explain away the fact that Peter's name is mentioned more than all the other disciples names combined?

* How can you deny the authority of the papacy considering that all the earliest Christians accepted it? If you attempt to argue that the papacy didn't exist in the first century, how can you explain quotations such as this one? - "If certain persons should be disobedient unto the words spoken by Him through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger." (Pope St. Clement, c. 95 A.D.)

* If you reject the concept of authority in the Church, do you also reject the fact that there was a seat of Moses (see Mt. 23:2-3)?

* "Christ had to come to earth, suffer and die because of disobedience, and now he expects no obedience to any authority in his name?" Jesus - that is, God incarnate - obeyed his earthly parents, yet you refuse to obey anyone but yourself?

* How can you reject the concept of authority, considering that Christ authorizes certain persons to act in His name and that rejection of them means rejection of Christ? Consider that Scripture says...

Lk. 10:16: "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."

Jn. 13:20: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."

Rom. 13:2: Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.

How can you not be concerned that you are rejecting those who have received authority from Christ?

* Without authority, how do you imagine that new issues could be resolved? Or that disputes could be settled?

* Without authority, how do you imagine that people would become better rather than worse?

* How do you expect that the Church would continue to grow since the time of the apostles without any authority?

* Do you imagine that the Apostles' authority ended upon their deaths? How do you explain that Judas' authority was passed on to another after his death (see Acts 1:15-26)? Why did the Jews (and Jesus) recognize Moses' seat (Mt. 23: 1-3) if religious offices didn't survive death? How is it you think the keys Christ gave to Peter would not be transferred to another? Would heaven simply be closed after the death of Peter? Does the presidency of the country end because a President dies? Does the Church that Christ promised would withstand the gates of hell (Mt. 16:18) simply fall apart upon the death of the apostles?

* If the authority of the pope was to end with St. Peter's death, how can you explain the unbroken succession of popes since that time (complete with historical records to back them up)? If no successor was supposed to take St. Peter's place, why did the apostle St. John (who was still alive) fail to complain about it? In fact, why was Pope Clement (the fourth pope!) consulted to resolve a particular matter in the Church when St. John was still alive (and closer)?

* How is it that the earliest Christians accepted the papacy and other offices in the Church, but you reject them? (Remember, their acceptance of them is a documented fact!) All (orthodox) Christians accepted the office of the papacy (as well as the other offices) prior to the schism of the Orthodox! How is it that the testimony of the earliest Christians clearly shows that the apostles handed down their authority, but you reject it?

* How do you claim to reject the concept of authority in the Church if you accept the Bible? Are you unaware that the New Testament was determined on the authority of the Catholic Church? Do you realize you would have no bible without the authority of the Church?

* Does not the very fact that there are thousands and thousands and thousands of competing Protestant sects constitute positive proof of the need for a supreme authority in the Church? Protestant sects have no supreme authority and therefore they are wholly incapable of unity [contrary to Christ's desire that "they may all be one" (Jn. 17:21)]. As Pope Pius XII has said, "For often those who disagree with the true Church complain openly of their disagreement in matters of dogma and thus unwillingly bear witness to the necessity of a living Teaching Authority." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani Generis", 1950 A.D.)

* Why is it that the Catholic Church can trace its authority directly back from the Apostles (the Pope being the successor to St. Peter and the Bishops being the successors to the other Apostles), yet your 'church' has no apostolic succession? Are you unaware that apostolic succession has always been a criterion for truth?

* Is it perhaps true that you reject authority in the Church simply because you don't want to have to answer to those in charge? Do you think this will excuse you? Will it not rather increase your guilt?

* If you don't like the concept of having to obey authority in the Church, you should take it up with Jesus - since He is the one who set it up that way!

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"Do not let them imagine that the way of life and of salvation is still open to them, if they have refused to obey the bishops and the priests." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, 3rd century A.D.)

"In a like manner let everyone respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ, and just as they respect the bishop as a type of the Father, and the presbyters and the council of God and college of Apostles. Without these, it cannot be called a Church." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

"Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be contention over the bishop's office. So, foreknowledge, they appointed the above-mentioned men, and afterwards gave them a permanent character (epimonen), so that, as they died, other approved men should succeed to their ministry." (St. Clement I, 1st century A.D.)

"And let a man respect the bishop all the more if he seems him to be a man of few words. For, whoever is sent by the master to run His house, we ought to receive him as we would receive the Master Himself. It is obvious, therefore, that we ought to regard the bishop as we would the Lord Himself." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, 2nd century A.D.)

"Take pains to impress on the Christian people a due obedience and subjection to rulers and governments. Do this by teaching, in accordance with the warning of the Apostle, that all authority comes from God. Whoever resists authority resists the ordering made by God Himself, consequently achieving his own condemnation; disobeying authority is always sinful except when an order is given which is opposed to the laws of God and the Church." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

"Although man, when excited by a certain arrogance and contumacy, has often striven to cast aside the reins of authority, he has never yet been able to arrive at the state of obeying no one. In every association and community of men, necessity itself compels that some should hold pre-eminence, lest society, deprived of a prince or head by which it is ruled should come to dissolution and be prevented from attaining the end for which it was created and instituted." (Pope Leo XIII, "Diuturnum", 1881 A.D.)

"You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.) [Note: The above has been considered the earliest known written use of the term "Catholic Church". St. Ignatius was a hearer of the Apostle St. John, and the third bishop of Antioch.]

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For more apologetics resources, please visit

Note: Related topics include:

* Do you deny that Jesus established a visible, hierarchical Church?

* Do you reject the papacy / the pope?

* Do you reject the concept of authority because you don't believe that anyone should tell you what to believe?

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Closing Quotations...

"In a certain sense it can be said that on Calvary Christ built a font of purification and salvation which He filled with the blood He shed; but if men do not bathe in it and there wash away the stains of their iniquities, they can never be purified and saved." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"Eden was now being reversed. Three things cooperated in our fall: a disobedient man, Adam; a proud woman, Eve; and a tree. God takes the three elements that lead to the defeat of man and uses them as the instruments of victory: the obedient new Adam, Christ; the humble new Eve, Mary; and the tree of the Cross." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"If then Death was the supreme moment for which Christ lived, it was therefore the one thing He wished to have remembered. He did not ask that men should write down His Words into a Scripture; He did not ask that His kindness to the poor should be recorded in history; but He did ask that men remember His Death. And in order that its memory might not be any haphazard narrative on the part of men, He Himself instituted the precise way it should be recalled." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

Lenten Prayer: Hear, O merciful Creator, the tearful prayers we present to thee, during these forty days of fast. O loving searcher of the heart, thou knowest that our strength is weak; grant us the grace of thy pardon, for we are converted unto thee. Grievously have we sinned; yet spare us, for we confess our sins to thee: and, for the glory of thy name, heal our languid hearts. Grant that we may subdue our flesh by abstinence; that thus our hearts may leave what nourishes sin, and fast from every crime. O blessed Trinity! O undivided Unity! Grant to us, thy servants, that our fasts may produce abundant fruits. Amen. (Vespers of Lent)

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