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Copyright © 2012, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - July, 2012 [Plain text version]

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of July: Dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus

* Short Meditation: "A very great crime in the eyes of God..."

* The Present vs. the Future

* Liturgical Feasts in July

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Believe in Private Interpretation of the Bible? (Part 1)

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Dear Friend,

"May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way." (2 Thes. 3:16)

We hope your summer has gotten off to a pleasant & peaceful start and that it will remain so over the upcoming months.

Even though it is still early, we invite those who have not yet signed up for 'Rosary Week' to consider doing so now. Rosary Week can be a wonderful opportunity to pray with other Catholics for worthy intentions. It doesn't cost anything to sign up and you can pray from anywhere. It should take only about 15 minutes of your time to pray the rosary, and it can be said at any time of day or night. Even if you can say no more than a single rosary, your participation is most welcome. For more information on Rosary Week, please visit . To sign up, please visit . Thank you for joining us. And, please invite your friends!

We appreciate your being a subscriber to our mailing list & we wish you God's blessings,

Your Friends at

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"Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one's works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ" (St. Peter, 1 Pt. 1:17-19)

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MCS News & Notes

* Rosary Week: Please sign up today to participate in our Fourth Annual Rosary Week to be held from 10/22/12 - 10/28/12. A signup sheet is located at . Participation is easy - simply say a five-decade rosary for the indicated intentions on the indicated dates & unite your prayers with the prayers of all who are participating. The event is totally free and you can pray from any appropriate location. If you can't participate for the whole week you can sign up for a single day or for as many days as you are able. You can signup anonymously if you like. If you already pray the rosary, this is a great opportunity to say an extra rosary. If you don't already pray the rosary, this is a great opportunity to start. Remember that for centuries numerous popes, saints, and others have strongly encouraged all to pray the rosary. And, the Blessed Virgin herself has urged us to pray it. Throughout its history, the rosary has been considered a powerful weapon against the forces of evil. It has also been associated with countless miracles of all types. It has been even attributed to one of the greatest military upsets in all of history as Christians carried rosaries into battle along with their swords and achieved astonishing results. The saints have called the rosary a "ladder to heaven" and at least one saint specifically attributes the salvation of his soul to the rosary. Concerning the rosary, others have said...

"Of all the prayers, the Rosary is the most beautiful and the richest in graces; of all it is the one most pleasing to Mary, the Virgin Most Holy." (Pope St. Pius X)

 "Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood." (St. Louis de Montfort)

 "Next to the holy sacrifice of the Mass, there is, indeed, nothing more terrifying to [the devil], nor does he bear a more implacable hatred to anything than to the devotion of the Rosary." (Muller)

 "The power of the rosary is beyond description." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

 "We desire very earnestly, Venerable Brethren, that the Holy Rosary should be recited in a special manner in the month of October and with increased devotion both in the churches and in homes." (Pope Pius XI, "Ingravescentibus Malis", 1937 A.D.)

 "How great is the power and mercy of the Blessed Virgin for those who are faithful in the practice of the Rosary! If you wish then, to save your soul, practice the devotion of the Rosary with fervor and perseverance. If you wish to save the souls of those who are near and dear to you, try to introduce this devotion without delay into your family." (Muller)

Please sign up today for Rosary Week! Visit to sign up

* Let us know what you think: We are seeking feedback on our newsletters, particularly with regard to the following three items...

   1-Length: Do you think our newsletters (in general) should be shorter or longer - or are they okay as is?

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Please let us know what you think at . All comments - positive and negative - are welcome. Thank you for your feedback!

* Reminder: Need a prayer? You can submit prayer requests any time at . Please also consider praying for others who have asked for prayers. As Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, has noted: "He causes his prayers to be of more avail to himself, who offers them also for others." Thanks in advance for any prayers.

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- - - - - App News...

* We are hoping our newest app will be released soon via iTunes. Please check for details when it is released

* On Sale: Catholic Bible References is presently on sale for just $1.99. This 'must-have' app is a handy apologetics tool that can be used to help Catholics discuss & defend the faith. It features hundreds of key bible references conveniently arranged by topic, 100+ tips for locating related passages (including those related to defending the Catholic faith among 'Jehovah's Witnesses' & Mormons), modern & traditional scripture translations, convenient index, handy grouping by titles, easy / quick / comprehensive search, selectable text, Old Testament / New Testament indicator, and a quick, easy-to-use interface. Get it today! Topics Include: Ashes, Blessed Virgin Mary, Celibacy, Devil, Divinity of Christ, Faith / Works (Sola Fide/Faith Alone), Hell, Hierarchy, Incense, Indulgences, Infallibility, Intercession, Lord's Day / Sunday, Mass, Morality (C ontraception, F ornication, Etc.), Oral Tradition (Sola Scriptura/Bible Alone), Original Sin, Papacy, Prayer (Repeating Prayer, Praying for the Dead, Praying to Saints), Priest / Priesthood, Purgatory, Relics, Sacraments (Anointing of the Sick, Baptism, Confession, Confirmation, Eucharist, Holy Orders, Marriage), Saints, Salvation, Scripture, Trinity, Unity, More... Download it today at . For more information, please visit

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Note: All prices herein are in U.S. dollars, excluding any applicable tax.

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The Month of July: Dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus

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"And [Jesus] said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many." (Mk.14:24)

"Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us. Blood of Christ, Price of our salvation, save us. Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us." (From the Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus)

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Related Resources...

* Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus -

* Scapular of the Most Precious Blood -

* Prayers to Jesus -

* Jesus (Topic Page) -

* The Passion / Cross Reflections -

* Jesus' Last Words From the Cross -

* Stations of the Cross / Way of the Cross -

* Trials & Sorrows of Jesus -

* The Holy Eucharist -

* Communion Under Both Species: Is it Required? -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"Precious Blood, Ocean of Divine Mercy: Flow upon us! Precious Blood, Most pure Offering: Procure us every grace! Precious Blood, Hope and Refuge of sinners: Atone for us! Precious Blood, Delight of holy souls: Draw us! Amen." (Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena)

"The Savior Himself declares, 'Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him.' By this statement it is to be seen that Christ does not say He will be in us only after the fashion of some relation that is solely intellectual, but also through a participation truly according to nature. Just as if someone were to entwine two pieces of wax together and melt them with a fire, so that both are made one, so too through participation in the Body of Christ and in His Precious Blood, He is united in us and we too in Him. In no other way can that corruptible nature be [quickened] except by being united bodily to the Body of Him who is, by His very nature, life: that is, the Only-begotten." (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, c. 431 A.D.)

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Short Meditation: "A very great crime in the eyes of God..."

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The following is taken from a 19th century Irish publication ("Catholic Penny Magazine"). An imprimatur was not located on the publication. [Note: We have made some changes to the text below (e.g. combining paragraphs, punctuation & spelling changes)]

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A person may be condemned for the simple omission of good works. For, 1st: In order to be saved, the Scripture says it is not sufficient to avoid evil, we must also do good. "Avoid evil and do good." The salvation of man depends on these two points and either is useless without the other. 2nd: The barren tree is cast into the fire, though it did no mischief save that of uselessly encumbering the ground. 3rd: The negligent servant is in like manner condemned to exterior darkness, not for having lost his talent but for having failed to apply it to a good account. 4th: In the sentence which Jesus Christ will pronounce on the last day against the wicked he will reproach them only with sins of omission. "I was hungry and you gave me not to eat &c." Labor, then, without ceasing to sanctify your life by good works, and never lose sight of this undoubted maxim in the principles of religion, that it is a very great crime in the eyes of God not to do good when you have it in your power.


"Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 5:16)

"Those who do not labor in good works in this world will labor in evil ones in hell." (St. Vincent Ferrer)

"[C]harity, if it does not issue effectively in good works, is something altogether empty and unprofitable" (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"If it were given a man to see virtue's reward in the next world, he would occupy his intellect, memory and will in nothing but good works, careless of danger or fatigue." (St. Catherine of Genoa)

"It is true that we shall never have the happiness of going to heaven unless we do good works, but let us not be afraid of that, my dear children. What Jesus Christ demands of us are not extraordinary things or those beyond our powers." (St. John Vianney)

"You do right when you offer faith to God; you do right when you offer works. But if you separate the two, then you do wrong. For faith without works is dead; and lack of charity in action murders faith, just as Cain murdered Abel, so that God cannot respect your offering." (St. Bernard)

"No one is free of sin; but where good works prevail, sins are lightened, overshadowed, and covered up. On the day of judgment either our works will assist us or they will plunge us into the abyss, as if dragged down by a millstone." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church)

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called 'the friend of God.' See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (St. James, Jms. 2:14-26)

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For more reflections, please visit

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The Present vs. the Future

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The following is taken from a 19th century Irish publication ("Catholic Penny Magazine"). An imprimatur was not located on the publication. [Note: We have made some changes to the text below (e.g. shortening, combining paragraphs, punctuation & spelling changes)]

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The present is the only time of which we can make a good or bad use. The past is no more; the future has not yet arrived. The present alone belongs to us. But this present is a rapid and fleeting moment; an almost imperceptible point, which ceases to exist as soon as we have reflected on it. Imagine time to be a vast torrent which comes towards you with inconceivable rapidity. What has flowed by you will return no more--this is the past. What is flowing towards you has not yet reached--this is the future. What has just reached you is the present. You may take advantage of it. What use ought we to make of the present time? No other but to apply with care to the concerns of our salvation in order to insure ourselves a merit and recompense which will last for ever. No, there is not a moment of our life which we ought not and which we might not employ to gain heaven; no moment which does not furnish us an opportunity or means of practicing some virtue; none in which we ought not to be ready to appear before God, to render him an account of our actions; none in fine which may not be the decisive moment of our salvation.

The future is uncertain; and yet we are occupied by it alone. We are always thinking of the future, and never of the present. We anticipate it as if it were too slow, and we suffer the present to escape as if it were too swift. We are wandering in the time which has not yet arrived, and we do not think of the only time which subsists and belongs to us. We do not live, but we hope to live. We say, "I will go, I will obtain such or such a favor. I will attain such a degree of elevation, and rise to such and such a height of fortune." The foolish rich man says in the gospel, "I will throw down, and I will build up" -- not thinking that he was forming plans on the very eve of his death.

The future is uncertain, and yet we wait for the future to give ourselves to God. You defer from day to day the total surrender of yourself to God. You are waiting, you say, until you reach a more advanced age. But will you arrive at that age? You are waiting until you grow old. But will you ever enjoy an old age? You are waiting for a perfect disengagement from a multitude of affairs in which you are engaged. But are you certain you will ever see an end of them? You are waiting for tomorrow. But will you ever see another day? "This very night I will demand an account of your soul, and if you die in your sin what will become of you?" ... Delay not, says the wise man to be converted to the Lord, and do not defer it from day to day, because you are not sure of time. When, in fact, will this time arrive at which you are resolved to change your life? Perhaps it will be much more encumbered by the cares and embarrassments of the world than that which you neglect; new ties, new difficulties, new obstacles will be opposed to these projects of conversion which have no reality in them... Man is inconstant for good, and constant for evil. You look on your conversion as a fruit which is not yet ripe, but which will ripen in time. You imagine that at that time your resolutions will be more firm, your passions more weak, your repugnances less strong, and your attachments less sensible. Undeceive yourself...

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"Be watchful! I have told it all to you beforehand." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mk. 13:23)

"Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 24:42-44)

"But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'" (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mk. 13:32-37)

"You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 12:40)

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For more reflections, please visit

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Liturgical Feasts in July

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

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

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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July 1 - The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord (T)

July 2 - Sts. Processus & Martinian (T)

July 2 - Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

July 3 - St. Leo II, pope (T)

July 3 - The Commemoration of all Holy Pontiffs (T)

July 3 - St. Thomas, apostle (N)

July 4 - St. Elizabeth of Portugal (N)

July 5 - St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria (T)

July 5 - St. Anthony Zaccaria (N)

July 6 - St. Maria Goretti (N)

July 7 - Sts. Cyril & Methodius (T)

July 8 - St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal (T)

July 9 - St. John Fisher (T)

July 9 - St. Thomas More (T)

July 9 - St. Augustine Zhao Rong & companions (N)

July 10 - Seven Holy Brothers (T)

July 10 - Sts. Rufina & Secunda (T)

July 11 - St. Pius I, pope (T)

July 11 - St. Benedict (N)

July 12 - St. John Gualbert (T)

July 12 - Sts. Nabor & Felix (T)

July 13 - St. Anacletus, pope (T)

July 13 - St. Henry (N)

July 14 - St. Bonaventure (T)

July 15 - St. Henry II (T)

July 15 - St. Bonaventure (N)

July 16 - Our Lady of Mount Carmel (T)

July 16 - Our Lady of Mount Carmel (N)

July 17 - St. Alexius the Beggar (T)

July 18 - St. Camillus de Lellis (T)

July 18 - St. Symphorosa & 7 Sons (T)

July 18 - St. Camillus de Lellis (N)

July 19 - St. Vincent de Paul (T)

July 20 - St. Jerome Emilian (T)

July 20 - St. Margaret of Antioch (T)

July 20 - St. Apollinarus (N)

July 21 - St. Praxedes (T)

July 21 - St. Lawrence of Brindisi (N)

July 22 - St. Mary Magdalene (T)

July 22 - St. Mary Magdalene (N)

July 23 - St. Apollinaris of Ravenna (T)

July 23 - St. Liborius (T)

July 23 - St. Bridget of Sweden (N)

July 24 - St. Christina (T)

July 24 - St. Francis Solano (T)

July 25 - St. Christopher (T)

July 25 - St. James the Greater, apostle (T)

July 25 - St. James the Greater, apostle (N)

July 26 - St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

July 26 - Sts. Joachim & Ann (Anne), Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

July 27 - St. Pantaleon (T)

July 28 - St. Nazarius & Celsus (T)

July 28 - Sts. Victor & Innocent (Innocentius) I, popes (T)

July 29 - St. Felix II, pope (T)

July 29 - St. Martha (T)

July 29 - Sts. Simplicius, Faustinus & Beatrice (T)

July 29 - St. Martha (N)

July 30 - Sts. Abdon & Sennen (T)

July 30 - St. Peter Chrysologus (N)

July 31 - St. Ignatius of Loyola (T)

July 31 - St. Ignatius of Loyola (N)

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

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. Who was the first Franciscan to become pope?

2. What does St. John Vianney say to do if you wish to have pious, good children?

3. Who does Pope John Paul I quote regarding the "image [of the Church] dear to the ancient fathers"?

4. What book did St. Francis de Sales say he carried in his pocket for at least eighteen years and never read without profit?

5. What did St. Anthony of Padua say after preaching to the fish?

6. Which pope introduced Midnight Mass at Christmas and made Lenten fasting obligatory?

7. Pope Leo XIII said the following about which work? "This work is remarkable at once for the richness and exactness of its doctrine, and for the elegance of its style; it is a precious summary of all theology, both dogmatic and moral. He who understands it well, will have always at his service those aids by which a priest is enabled to preach with fruit, to acquit himself worthily of the important ministry of the confessional and the direction of souls, and will be in a position to refute the objections of unbelievers."

8. Who said the following...? "If any bad thought comes to you, make the sign of the cross, or say an Our Father, or strike your breast, and try to think of something else. If you do that, the thought will actually be winning you merit, because you will be resisting it."

9. What was the "sin of the century" according to Pope Pius XII?

10. Who is Pope Pius XI referring to in this sentence? "His kindness of heart never varied, no matter who the persons were with whom he had to deal, the hour of the day, [or] the trying circumstances he had to meet." (Pope Pius XI, "Rerum Omnium Perturbationem", 1923 A.D.)



1. Pope Nicholas IV

2. "If you wish to have pious, good children, you must first of yourself be God-fearing and lead good lives. As the tree, so will the fruit be." (St. John Vianney)

3. "According to the words of Saint Augustine, who takes up an image dear to the ancient Fathers, the ship of the Church must not fear, because it is guided by Christ and by His Vicar. 'Although the ship is tossed about, it is still a ship. It alone carries the disciples and receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea, but, outside it, one would immediately perish.' Only in the Church is salvation. 'Outside it one perishes.'" (Pope John Paul I, 1978)

4. "It is clear and very practical. Yes, my daughter, the Spiritual Combat is a great book, and a book dear to me. I have carried it in my pocket for at least eighteen years, and I never read it without profit." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

5. "Blessed be the eternal God, for fish in water honor him more than heretics, and creatures without reason hear his word better than infidels!" (St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church, after preaching to the fish)

6. Pope St. Telesphorus (d.c. 136)

7. The Catechism of the Council of Trent

8. St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church

9. "[T]he sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin" (Pope Pius XII)

10. 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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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Believe in Private Interpretation of the Bible? (Part 1)

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).

Topic: Do You Believe in Private Interpretation of the Bible? (Part 1) [Note: Topic is directed at Protestants]


* Do you reject the concept that the Catholic Church has the sole authority to interpret the Bible? See (Note: Click link 'Do You Reject the Concept That the Catholic Church Has the Sole Authority to Interpret the Bible?')

* How can it be true that the Bible is subject to one's personal interpretation since Scripture shows that an instructor is necessary to properly understand the Bible (see Acts 8:30-31, Neh. 8:8)?

* How can it be true that the Bible is subject to one's personal interpretation since Scripture says that prophecy of Scripture is not a matter of personal interpretation (see 2 Pt. 1:20)?

* How can it be true that the Bible is subject to one's personal interpretation since Scripture itself says that Scripture can be difficult to understand and can be distorted to one's destruction (see 2 Pt. 3:15-16)? How is it that Scripture can be said to be difficult to understand if the Holy Spirit guided persons to a proper interpretation?

* How can it be true that believers are guided to a perfect understanding of Scripture by the Holy Spirit considering that St. Paul indicated that the Corinthians had only come to understand him "partially" (see 2 Cor. 1:13-14)?

* How can it be true that believers are guided to a perfect understanding of Scripture by the Holy Spirit considering that St. Paul tells his readers that they needed to have someone teach them again (see Heb. 5:12)?

* Where exactly does Scripture guarantee that you - personally - will be given an accurate understanding of the Bible?

* How can it be true that the Holy Spirit guides each person in the proper understanding of Scripture, since it is clear that those who believe in personal interpretation of the Bible so often disagree on the meaning of Scripture? Are we to believe that the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of truth and the remover of errors - guides people in a contradictory fashion? If persons were truly guided by the Holy Spirit, surely they would all interpret the same way!

* How can it be true that the Bible is subject to one's personal interpretation considering that human mind is so easily deceived?

* Why would the Holy Spirit use personal interpretation of Scripture as the means of bringing people to truth when Bibles weren't readily available for most of Christianity, until the printing press was invented? [Note: Try here for more on this topic - ]

* How can it be true that the Bible is subject to one's personal interpretation considering that persons are so easily led to believe that what they want a passage to believe is what it really means? 

* How can it be true that the Bible is subject to one's personal interpretation considering that persons are inclined to make any given passage fit their preconceived ideas? 

* How can it be true that the Bible is subject to one's personal interpretation considering that each competing interpretation would then have to be considered as equally valid?

* How can it be said that the Holy Spirit personally guides Protestants in the interpretation of the Bible when one Protestant comes to one conclusion and other Protestants come to contradictory conclusions? Clearly all but one of them must be wrong! One cannot accept contradictory conclusions as equally valid! Do you ignore the basic points of logic and continue to hold that all have been guided by the Holy Spirit - truth itself - in reaching these contradictory conclusions? As Pope St. Pius X has said, "In short, to maintain and defend these theories they do not hesitate to declare that the noblest homage that can be paid to the Infinite is to make it the object of contradictory propositions! But when they justify even contradiction, what is it that they will refuse to justify?" (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

* If the Bible is rightly subject to personal interpretation under the Holy Spirit, why have the fruits of this practice been the separation of Protestants into 30,000+ denominations? Do not the demonstrated fruits of this practice show that those who rely on private interpretation of Scripture cannot come to a secure knowledge of divine truths? Do not these 30,000+ sects in fact prove the necessity of a authoritative interpreter if one really cares about truth? If the Holy Spirit directs you to all truth, why are there 30,000+ sects of Protestantism? Why does every person interpret Scripture differently?

* Considering that Scripture speaks of being one fold (Jn. 10:16), that Jesus prays for unity (Jn. 17:20-23), that Christians are called to think in harmony with one another (Rom. 15:5) and avoid those who create dissension, in opposition to the teaching they've learned (Rom. 16:17), that there should be no divisions, that Christians should be united in mind (1 Cor. 1:10), with unity, one faith (Eph. 4:3-6), united, of same mind, thinking one thing (Phil. 2:2), is it not clear that Protestant's claimed personal interpretation has failed miserably? Protestants have no unity, but rather division. Each thinks differently from the other. Further what they think is true may change from day to day, or as each new 'inspiration' comes. Not only is the "way of truth reviled" (cf. 2 Pt. 2:2), but many seem to deny that there is any objective truth. The rules of logic tell us there can only be one truth, that everything contrary is erroneous. The rules of Protestantism teach that each person's "truth" is just as good as another's. As Cardinal Newman states, "Truth is one; therefore...the multitude of men are wrong, as far as they differ; and as they differ, not about trivial points but about great matters, it follows that the multitude of men, whether by their own fault or not, are wrong even in the greater matters of religion." (Cardinal Newman) And, as Pope Leo XIII points out, "The heavenly doctrine of Christ, although for the most part committed to writing by divine inspiration, could not unite the minds of men if left to the human intellect alone. It would, for this very reason, be subject to various and contradictory interpretations. This is so, not only because of the nature of the doctrine itself and of the mysteries it involves, but also because of the divergencies of the human mind and of the disturbing element of conflicting passions. From a variety of interpretations a variety of beliefs is necessarily begotten; hence come controversies, dissensions and wranglings such as have arisen in the past, even in the first ages of the Church. Irenaeus writes of heretics as follows: 'Admitting the sacred Scriptures they distort the interpretations' (Lib. iii., cap. 12, n. 12). And Augustine: 'Heresies have arisen, and certain perverse views ensnaring souls and precipitating them into the abyss only when the Scriptures, good in themselves, are not properly understood' (In Evang. Joan., tract xviii., cap. 5, n. I). Besides Holy Writ it was absolutely necessary to insure this union of men's minds - to effect and preserve unity of ideas - that there should be another principle. This the wisdom of God requires: for He could not have willed that the faith should be one if He did not provide means sufficient for the preservation of this unity; and this Holy Writ clearly sets forth [namely, the teaching authority of the Catholic Church]" (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

* How is it that one can claim to be able to interpret all of Scripture infallibly, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but then argue that the Pope is not infallible in the very limited area which the Church teaches that infallibility covers? "If you claim perfect personal interpretation for every passage of Scripture, you claim far more than any pope!" [Note: Visit for more on papal infallibility.]

* If it is true that the Holy Spirit infallibly guides individuals to a proper understanding of Scripture, why does the Bible so clearly warn of false teachers and heresies? For example, consider that Scripture instructs that heretics are perverted, sinful, and stand self-condemned and should not be associated with (Ti. 3:10-11), that destructive heresies will be introduced, bringing destruction (2 Pt. 2:1-3), and that to even greet those with strange doctrine makes one share in their evil works (2 Jn. 1:10-11). If Scripture is truly subject to one's own interpretation, how could anyone be a called a heretic or false teacher?

* Where does Jesus say that the Bible is subject to personal interpretation? 

* Where do the Apostles say that the Bible is subject to personal interpretation? 

* Where does any of Scripture say that the Bible is subject to personal interpretation? 

* How, specifically, can you separate your human opinion from your perceived inspiration of the Holy Spirit? How can you be certain any given 'inspiration' is actually from the Holy Spirit? How can you be sure that what you feel is an inspiration of the Holy Spirit is not just your own heart or mind telling you what seems to be true? What safeguards ensure that your interpretation is not a harmful distortion or misunderstanding? How can you be certain that you have not misapplied Scripture? What protection do you have against heresy? How do you know if you wander away from truth? How do you fight your natural inclination to go with whatever seems pleasing?

"It is proper to a habit to incline a power to act, and this belongs to a habit, in so far as it makes whatever is suitable to it, to seem good, and whatever is unsuitable, to seem evil. For as the taste judges of savors according to its disposition, even so does the human mind judge of things to be done, according to its habitual disposition. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethica Nicomachea iii,5) that 'such as a man is, so does the end appear to him.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

* Should the Holy Spirit inspire you to join the Catholic Church, would you reject this inspiration? "Do you believe only what you like and refuse to believe what you dislike?" (Pope St. Pius X)

* How is it that you discover truth? How is it that you even recognize truth? If it is really truth, why can you not agree with others who 'privately interpret' Scripture?

* If you rely on the Holy Spirit to direct you to all truth, ask the Holy Spirit how you got the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you read the ancient languages that the Bible was written in. Ask the Holy Spirit to tell you what the unwritten traditions are (2 Thes. 2:15) - or does the Holy Spirit only guide you to interpret what is already written by others?

* If you are being infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit in the interpretation of Scripture, would you dare ask the Holy Spirit why He seems to be guiding other people a different truth (is this not blasphemy?!). Do you suppose you have a monopoly on the guidance of the Holy Spirit? What if someone else thinks they are guided by the Holy Spirit and they disagree with you - are they automatically wrong and you automatically right? How do you know you are not misinterpreting this guidance of the Holy Spirit that you claim you have? How is it that you claim that the Holy Spirit guides people when interpreting the Bible considering that different persons interpret the same passages differently? Why would the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, guide you both differently? Would not all interpret the same way if they were being guided by the Holy Spirit?

* How, exactly, do you know - and how, exactly, can it be confirmed - that what you regard as inspiration is of the Holy Spirit? Is it a feeling? When was the first time you felt it? How were you guided before that? Is the Holy Spirit "on call" for you, whenever you wish to interpret Scripture? If you did not have this feeling, how would you know what is true? Why do you claim more guidance of the Holy Spirit than Catholics claim for the Pope? How do you know that you stand in truth? How do you avoid confusing opinion and feelings with truth? How do you avoid favoring 'truths' that are naturally pleasant and rejecting truths that are unpleasant? How do you really know what you believe is true and not just something that seems to be true? How do you separate your fallible intellect from the infallible assistance of the Holy Spirit? How do you know you are not being deceived? Are you never wrong? Have you ever changed your mind about anything? If so, didn't you think you were right the first time? How do you know you are right now? What do you think the consequences are if you are not really standing in truth? How do you know that your guidance is the Holy Spirit and not some other spirit? How do you know it is the Holy Spirit and not your imagination? Seriously, how? How do you REALLY know? Simply because you just feel it? Do you always trust your mere feelings on matters of critical importance? And further, since when is a 'feeling' an accurate determination of truth? Since when must one "feel" something is true for it to actually be true? Truth is truth - whether you 'feel' it or not! 

* If the Bible is subject to personal interpretation, how can persons be certain that they have kept their emotions and personal biases aside when interpreting a particular passage of Scripture? How can they be certain they have uncovered the truth, and not just what they want to be true? As Pope St. Pius X has said, "common sense tells us that emotion and everything that leads the heart captive proves a hindrance instead of a help to the discovery of truth." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

* If the concept of personal interpretation of Scripture is what Christ - truth itself - intended, why has the practice of private interpretation of Scripture so relativized truth? 

* Although it may be "pleasant to go with one's own inclinations", it does not matter what one thinks - it matters what is true. It does not matter what one person thinks is true, but what the author of Scripture has intended to say. How can one rightly forgo truth for one's subjective interpretation of Scripture? 

* If you substitute personal judgment for divine authority, do you think God is pleased? Do you take it lightly that Christ says that those who don't listen to the Church are to be avoided (Mt. 18:17) and that those sent act for Christ and those who reject them reject Christ (Lk. 10:16), and that Scripture says that those who resist authority bring judgment on themselves (Rom. 13:2)? Do you really think your personal feelings are superior to the God-given authority of the Church? 

* If the Bible is rightly subject to infallible personal interpretation under the Holy Spirit, why does Holy Scripture call the Church the pillar and foundation of truth (see 1 Tm. 3:15)?

* Why is it you accept the New Testament - which was codified, protected, and preserved by the Catholic Church - "from her hands", as it were, but refuse her the right to interpret Her own book? God didn't promise to give the Holy Spirit to each individual independently of the Church Christ founded. "For none but a Catholic can receive the Gospels as they were written" (Benson)

* When determining the meaning of a particular Scripture passage, how do you know it is the Holy Spirit and not your imagination? (Actually know, not think or feel, but know.) How, specifically, do you discern the work of the Holy Spirit? How would you discern the work of the devil? And what happens if others more learned than you - persons who also claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit - disagree with you, saying they know the Holy Spirit guided them? How many 'holy spirits' do you claim there are? 

* How can it be true that the Bible is subject to one's personal interpretation since it is clear that the proper understanding of a single passage of Scripture may require much scholarship - scholarship which is beyond reach of the average person? As Pope Pius XII has said, "What is the literal sense of a passage is not always as obvious in the speeches and writings of the ancient authors of the East, as it is in the works of our own time. For what they wished to express is not to be determined by the rules of grammar and philology alone, nor solely by the context; the interpreter must, as it were, go back wholly in spirit to those remote centuries of the East and with the aid of history, archaeology, ethnology, and other sciences, accurately determine what modes of writing, so to speak, the authors of that ancient period would be likely to use, and in fact did use. For the ancient peoples of the East, in order to express their ideas, did not always employ those forms or kinds of speech which we use today; but rather those used by the men of their times and countries. What those exactly were the commentator cannot determine as it were in advance, but only after a careful examination of the ancient literature of the East." (Pope Pius XII, "Divino Afflante Spiritu") 

* You, who (most likely) cannot perform complex mathematical calculations and received, perhaps, grades ranging from 70-95% in basic schoolwork, actually believe you can properly interpret the most mysterious of divine things with 100% accuracy?

* If various individuals were to interpret a passage of Scripture in a different and contradictory way, all cannot be correct. Further, since each person has an "equal right" to their private interpretation, how can one ever come to know what is really true? When there is no authority, how can any such matter ever be settled? 

* Is it not troublesome that private interpretation of Scripture opens the door to mistaking opinion for truth? 

* Is it not troublesome that private interpretation of Scripture ignores the facts that persons may twist Scripture to suit their purposes and that "everyone can prove what they want using the Bible"?

* If you become the sole judge and teacher, you absolutely must be submitting to a number of errors. Does that not bother you? Or, do you really believe that you are infallible and others are not, that you have never been wrong before? Or is it that you do you really not care about truth? - even though Christ said that He came into the world, to testify to the truth (see Jn. 18:37).

* If private interpretation of Scripture was true, why didn't those in Biblical times also enjoy such a privilege (see 2 Pt. 3:15-16)?

* If you accept private interpretation of Scripture, do you deny any influence of Satan? Do you not know that the devil is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44), that struggle is with evil spirits (Eph. 6:12), that devil is prowling around looking for someone to devour (1 Pt. 5:8), that the whole world is under power of the evil one (1 Jn. 5:19), and that the devil wages war against those who keep the commandments and bear witness to Jesus (Rv. 12:17)? Do you consider yourself immune? "How fearful is the misery of our fallen race, when the darkness of hell can overpower the loftiness intellects!" (Liturgical Year) As your own judge, how can you guard against the fact that the "devil, however, since he is an apostate angel, is able, as he was in the beginning, to lead astray and to deceive the mind of man for the transgressing of God's commands. And little by little he can darken the hearts of those who would try to serve Him" (St. Irenaeus, 2nd century A.D.)

* If you believe the Holy Spirit leads you to all truth, think back to the first Christian Pentecost when it is known for certain that Christ's disciples received the Holy Spirit. Did they not all think the same thing? If you don't think the same thing as your fellows, what makes you think you have the Holy Spirit?

* If people were to be guided by the Holy Spirit in understanding Scripture, why does the Bible specifically warn that men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them (see Acts 20:30)?

* If people were to be personally guided by the Holy Spirit in understanding Scripture, why did Christ send the apostles to teach and not simply to deliver Bibles (see Mt. 28:19-20)? 

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Please Note: This topic will be continued next month.

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In Closing...

"For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish people." (St. Peter, 1 Pt. 2:15)

"What is a man able to find so valuable that he can give it for the ransom of his soul? Yet one thing was found that was worth as much as all men together. It was given as the ransom price for our souls, the holy and most precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He poured out for all of us; we were, therefore, 'bought dearly'." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"We cannot refrain from again and again exhorting all to love holy Mother Church with a devoted and active love. If we have really at heart the salvation of the whole human family, purchased by the precious Blood, we must offer every day to the Eternal Father our prayers, works and sufferings, for her safety and for her continued and ever more fruitful increase. And while the skies are heavy with storm clouds, and exceeding great dangers threaten the whole of human society and the Church herself, let us commit ourselves and all that we have to the Father of Mercies, crying out: 'Look down, we beseech Thee, Lord, on this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to be betrayed into the hands of evil men and to undergo the torment of the Cross.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

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