My Story of My Catholic Faith

My Story of My Catholic Faith

Leonard Alt

Anti-Catholic literature led me deeper into my Catholic faith!

Having always been Catholic, I was introduced to anti-Catholic literature. The more anti-Catholic literature I read, the more Catholic I became. The Church, I belong too is the only one in the world where you have to misrepresent the Bible, history and the teachings of the Catholic Church, in order to prove it is wrong. This is the reason why the more anti-Catholic literature I read, the more Catholic I became.

My Catholic friends do not be too hard on your non-Catholic friends because they believe this anti-Catholic literature. They may even come across angry; however, I would suggest that Catholics respond to them in kindness. It is enough just to tell them the truth and let God do any converting to the extent that it may be necessary. After all,  “God is love” (1Jn. 4:7-9) and we should love in imitation of God.

Yes, this is true, the more anti-Catholic literature I read and researched over time, the more Catholic I became. I began to study the history of the Catholic Church and the Bible through the eyes of the of those who opposed the Church. I read books and articles, and listened to people speak against the Catholic Church. Researching this information, I contrasted it with the Bible, history, and Church teaching. In the process, I found myself becoming even more Catholic.

I saw these same three things happening over and over again. There were people who were misrepresenting Church history, taking the Bible out of context, and misrepresenting Catholic teaching. These were the three major areas that were not being represented correctly, hundreds if not thousands of times.

• Taking the Bible out of context: I also discovered that these people were frequently quoting the Bible out of context and in so doing were coming up with distorted understandings of Scripture. What came out of these improper understandings of the Bible were thousands of contradictory interpretations of Scripture causing a type of theological anarchy among the thousands of Protestant traditions.

• Misrepresenting Catholic teaching: The people writing this literature would often times misrepresent Church teaching and then, on the basis of their own misrepresentations, claim that the Catholic Church is wrong. This fascinated me because they were often times not disagreeing with Church teaching at all, but with their own misrepresentations of Church teaching.

• Misrepresentation of Catholic history: The first thing I noticed had to do with history and their criticism of certain Church Councils. After all, they could criticize Catholic councils because they existed in history. I could not criticize their councils simply because they did not exist in history going back to Christ and the Apostles.

This, in a nutshell, is why through studying the writings of the adversaries of the Church, I actually became more Catholic. The question that I had as I did my research is this. Why is it necessary to misrepresent history, teachings of the Church and the Bible in order to convince people that the Catholic Church is wrong? Below in detail I talk about these three main areas where the Catholic Church is misrepresented.

Taking the Bible out of context: Everyone is coming from some place. Our faith is handed on to us by others who have gone before us. This is what we call tradition. For example, Pentecostals have a Pentecostal tradition, Baptists have a Baptist tradition, Catholics have a Catholic tradition and Lutherans have a Lutheran tradition. We all read from the same Bible and yet we believe different things about this same Bible. Why, because we are coming from different traditions.

There is an understanding among Catholics and non-Catholics alike that the Bible properly understood in context does not contradict. To understand the Bible, we must take it in context. It is necessary to notice clarifying words, what comes before and after a Bible verse and what similar Bible passages say in other parts of the Bible. Usually, non-Catholics will accept the Bible as their only source of revelation. At the same time Catholics accept both the Bible and the teaching Tradition of the Church.

Because the Church believes in both the Bible and Tradition, often times non-Catholics cry foul because they will try to make the point that Jesus spoke against tradition in Mark 7:7-13. Here is a quote from one anti-Catholic publication. “The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human–regulations. You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions . . . In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down” (MK. 7:7, 8, 13, J.B.V.).

For them it is an open and shut case. Jesus spoke against human tradition. The Catholic Church speaks in favor of Tradition and so to them the Church is in clear violation of the Bible and Catholics should leave that non-Biblical Catholic Church and join a so-called Bible believing church. This sounds pretty persuasive until you notice three dots that indicate part of the context has been left out, verses 9 through 12. These verses show us that Jesus was not speaking against all tradition, but corrupt tradition. Please notice Mark 7:7-13 with the verses in bold that were left out.

Jesus said, “The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human–regulations. You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions, but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do. In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down” (MK. 7:7, 8, 13, J.B.V.).

Once we see that part of the context was left out, we realize that Jesus was not speaking against all tradition! He was speaking against corrupt tradition, that is in violation of the fourth commandment. Honor your father and your Mother (Mk 7:10, Ex 20:12). In other words, if the money that they would have had to take care of their parents is (given to God), specifically the temple, then they no longer have to take care of their parents in their old age which is in violation of the 4th commandment.

I believe that the vast majority of people who speak against any and all tradition do not realize that they are taking Mark 7 out of context, at least until you bring it to their attention. A person coming from a Pentecostal tradition challenged me with this question. “Why do Catholics follow tradition when in Mark 7, Jesus very clearly speaks against tradition?” I agreed with her that Jesus spoke against tradition and then I asked her a question. “Do you know the specific man-made tradition that Jesus was speaking against and which commandment it violated?” She said “no.” Because she could not answer the question, I realized that she didn’t know the context. I explained to her that Jesus was not speaking against all tradition, but corrupt tradition which is in violation of the 4th commandment. She had nothing further to say.

I remind Catholics not to be antagonistic with non-Catholics who get this wrong because they are simply following their own tradition and have no idea, that they are taught verses from the Bible out of context. These same people are usually unaware of the fact that the Bible through the Apostle Paul speaks for tradition. “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15). Protestants who are opposed to all tradition do not quote this verse in Thessalonians either because they do not know the verse or because they do and are in denial of it.

The word tradition means “handed on.” In other words, the handing on of anything from the past is tradition, including the Bible. We call it Biblical tradition. For those who do not believe in any tradition, in order to be intellectually honest, they would also have to throw out their Bible since it is also tradition handed on.

On social media, I reference from time to time some of the various Christian faith traditions. One man was upset with me for applying the word tradition to his particular church. He responded in sarcasm by saying, “you, a Catholic talking to us about tradition, you ought to talk!” I explained to him that we both have a tradition. It’s just that Catholics have a tradition and admit it and you have a tradition and don’t admit it. He had no response. If he had challenged me and said that his church had no tradition, I would have quoted back to him his very own words that he had written that are not in the Bible, but coming from his particular tradition.

The Catholic Church draws from both the Bible and tradition and honestly admits it and non-Catholic churches also draw from both the Bible and their tradition, and sometimes don’t admit it.

When people speak against any and all tradition, they are in fact taught this by their church tradition. They quote, in Mark 7:7-13 and then use this to speak against all tradition, when in fact Jesus was speaking against corrupt tradition. They are at the same time seemingly unaware that the Apostle Paul spoke for a living Apostolic tradition in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that is not corrupt. The irony in all of this is that their arguments against all tradition don’t come from the Bible, but their tradition.

Misrepresenting Catholic teaching: The number one misrepresentation of Catholic teaching has to do with Jesus’ mother Mary. Some non-Catholic church traditions teach that the Catholic Church deified Mary.

While at my place of employment, I noticed one coworker who regularly seemed to be uneasy around me, but I didn’t know why. One day he just started yelling at me, “Why do you Catholics put Mary on such a high pedestal?” And so, I am yelling back at him, “Oh, do you mean where the Catholic Church makes Mary equal to God or even Greater than God?” And he said “Yes!” And so, I answered him, “never in the two-thousand-year history of the Church has the Church ever made Mary equal to God or greater than God!” He looked at me for a few seconds and walked away without saying anything. He, to his credit, later apologized for speaking in what he called “an area that he didn’t know that much about.”

However, the question remains, why did he walk away without responding? The answer is simple. It says nowhere in the Bible that Mary is a God. She is the Mother of Jesus, who is both God and man. Everyone agrees with this. And so, if the Church deified Mary, it had to happen at some later date. At which Church council was Mary made into a God? In order for him to answer that question, he would have had to name a Church document or council where Mary was deified. The problem is that no such Church document or council exists. The deification of Mary is not Catholic teaching, but non-Catholic misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, not to be confused with actual Catholic teaching.

I was in a discussion on social media with a Baptist. He was wondering why Catholics make Mary into a god. I explained to him that never Mary as a god is not Catholic teaching but non-Catholic teaching that is misrepresenting Catholic teaching. I asked him what his sources were. Interestingly enough, he claimed that that he knew of seven different Catholics who believed that Mary is a god.

As the expression goes, I almost fell off my chair. I had never heard such a thing in my life. I told him that I found it interesting that he, who had never been Catholic, claimed to know of seven different Catholics who believed that Mary was a god and I, who have always been Catholic, have never heard of even one Catholic who thought that Mary was a god.

I further went on to say that if he had been honest, he would have said that he knew of seven ex-Catholics, who got their information from anti-Catholic sources, who believed that Mary is a god. He had no further response; I had caught him in a lie. In order to prove Mary is a god, Evangelicals and others have to go to non-Catholic sources that are misrepresenting Catholic teachings. They then disagree not with Catholic teaching, but with their own misrepresentations of Catholic teaching.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 971 makes it very clear that we honor Mary; however, adoration belongs to God alone. “All generations will call me Blessed.” The Church rightly honors “the blessed virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the Title of ‘Mother of God’, to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs… This very special devotion… differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.”

It is one thing for people to honestly disagree on an issue. It is quite something else when someone deliberately misrepresents another church and then disagrees, not with the teachings of this church, but with their own misrepresentations of this church’s teachings.

Misrepresentation of Catholic History: On social media there are many adversarial groups speaking against the Catholic Church. One Evangelical posed this historical question. “I would ask our Romanist visitors to name, please, a single bishop at the Council of Nicaea who believed as the Pope believes on each of these topics: Marian dogmas, Papal Authority (infallibility), Purgatory, transubstantiation?”

His question is worthy of an answer. As far as the topics that he mentioned, they were not dealt with at the Council of Nicaea. They were dealing with the nature of God, the Arian heresy, the day we celebrate Easter and other related topics.

I also asked him a question using some of his own language. “I would ask our Evangelical visitors to please give us the name of even one Baptist minister at the council of Nicaea”? He had no answer because the attendees at the Council of Nicaea were not Evangelical ministers, but Catholic Bishops. What he didn’t seem to realize is that in asking this question, he was unwittingly testifying to the fact that the Church of history is the Catholic Church. He evidently didn’t like it that I pointed this out and his response was to kick me out of his group discussion.

He could criticize my Church for its historical Church councils, because the Catholic Church existed at that time and is the Church of history. However, I can’t criticize his Protestant councils since they did not exist prior to the 16th century many centuries later.
Many years ago, I was present when a Protestant minister was speaking about the history of Christianity beginning with Adam and Eve. He then brought up the New Testament, the story of Jesus in the Gospels and then went on to speak of Fr. Martin Luther and some of the other Protestant reformers to the present. I remember looking around at the audience and thinking to myself, am I the only one who sees what this minister has done?

He made no reference to Christianity from the death of the last Apostle till the time of the Protestant reformers. It is not unusual for Protestants to shy away from history because Christian history is in fact Catholic. This is also one of the major reasons why very educated thoughtful non-Catholics, including Protestant ministers become Catholic.

I am not the only one who has noticed this. An Evangelical noticed this same thing when she took a history class at her Bible College. Here is what she had to say “There was something in that history that bothered me to no end. Between the Book of Acts and the Reformation, it appeared there was not very much to report. I wondered what the Holy Spirit had been doing during those 1,500 years. No one seemed bothered by this giant gap. I found it hard to believe that the work of God had gone largely undone until the Azusa Street revival in California, the cradle of Pentecostalism, in the early 20th Century” (Kristyn Lorraine Hall, August 29th CHNewsletter). This is one of the reasons why Kristyn Hall eventually became Catholic.

Why did they not put emphasis on those 1,500 years? They could not talk about the Protestant history because it hadn’t happened yet. All they would have been able to talk about was Catholic history.

The first Protestant Reformers who rebelled against the Church were all Catholic. Fr. Martin Luther and Fr. Ulrich Zwingli were Catholic priests. John Calvin was not a priest, but went to a Catholic School. If Protestants want a history that goes back to the time of Christ, they will have to go back to the Protestant Reformers and then through the Catholic Church all the way to Jesus and the Apostles.
I have listened to a number of comments on the history of the Bible by Protestant pastors, who moved away from their non-Catholic church(s) to the Catholic Church. In the process, they discovered that the Bible is Catholic. As one Protestant pastor put it. “Where did the Bible come from? Do we think it just dropped down from the sky?” Marcus Grodi convert, talks about this. He had led Catholics out of the Catholic Church, to his Church using the Bible. His expression was “show it to me in the Bible!” On the other hand, he remembers when he first realized that the Bible is a Catholic book.

“I remember that strange empty feeling when I first realized that the only reason that I have the Bible was the Catholic Church.”

Jesus said that His Church is ONE. This being the case then the obvious question is this, of the tens of thousands of non-Catholic denominations, non-denominations, and fellowships, which ONE is it. This is actually very important to the best of non-Catholic Christians; they want to be in a church that teaches the true Gospel. This is where the term “church hopping” comes from as they search for this true Church which promotes the full Gospel. There are wonderful non-Catholics out there who believe as Jesus taught, that the truth will set you free. They do not want to be in a church that is teaching the Gospel incorrectly, as the Apostle Paul puts it, a “different Gospel” (2 Cor. 11:3-5). Once this is settled, they may have to do this multiple times because of job changes and relocation.

One of the ways that non-Catholics try to get around dealing with this ONE Church is to declare it “invisible.” They don’t want to admit that the Catholic Church is that visible Church formed by Christ and the Apostles. And by calling it “invisible” instead of ONE, they are trying not to deal with the huge fragmentation of thousands of contradictory theologies that continues to this day in Protestant Christianity.

Not too long ago, I remember joking to a Baptist friend of mine that every time I visit a Protestant Church, I find that it is in fact visible, with visible attendees, visible pastor, visible Bibles etc. I said to her “if the Church that Jesus founded is supposed to be ‘invisible’ then this church can’t be it because it is very visible.” She later became Catholic and yes, the Catholic Church is very visible.

The great Anglican historian, John Henry Newman in his research of the history of the Church came to this conclusion. “To be deep in History is to cease to be Protestant.” Newman did cease to be Protestant and became Catholic. One of the major reasons why Protestant ministers today become Catholic is because they ultimately discover that Christian history is ultimately Catholic and Orthodox.

There are hundreds of examples where the Church is not represented accurately. I have given a few examples in these three main areas. As a Catholic these misrepresentations did not lead me away from my Church. They actually drew me nearer. I reasoned that if falsehoods against the Catholic Church are the primary ways that you prove it wrong, then it must be that one true Church established by Jesus Christ. There are many wonderful non-Catholics, who like us are seekers of the truth and when they begin to see that they were given a less than correct understanding of the Church they sometimes begin to fall in love with the very Church they were taught to hate.

I warn Catholics not to take it personally when non-Catholics are somewhat caustic towards them because they have been taught many things about our Catholic Church that are not true. In fact, many (but not all) are taught that Catholics are not Christians. They are Pagans at best, or Satanists at worst. Put yourself in their shoes. If you had been brought up in their tradition(s) and were taught these things wouldn’t you be doing the same things they are doing. And so, it is for us to simply tell people the truth not pushing it on anyone. Jesus said “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:1-33). If there is any converting to take place let Jesus do that! After all, it is His truth that sets us free.

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church, is it Satan’s main weapon, or the Church that Jesus founded?

A man by the name of Danilo says; “Mr. Leonard Alt. A sharp, articulate man like you who chooses to remain lost is such a waste of life for not recognizing the cult of Roman Catholicism that has enslaved so many gullible people… It is a cult and RCC is Satan’s main weapon to lure worshipers away from God.”

Danilo, the false allegation against the Catholic Church, that it is somehow involved in Satanism is not new; this accusation actually goes back to the time of Jesus and the Apostles. In fact Jesus himself was accused of operating by Satan. When Jesus drove out a demon, the Pharisees accused Jesus of driving out demons by Satan, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.’

Jesus said to them, “‘If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out?’ Therefore they will be your judges” (Mt 12:26-27).

Anyone can make an accusation against the Church founded by Jesus. The Christians, in the Bible, were not making the allegation of Satanism about one another. By making the accusation of Satanism, you are not echoing the words of Jesus in the Bible. You are echoing the words of the Pharisees, who accused Jesus of Satanism.

“It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.” Jesus said to them, “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out?

In every diocese of the Catholic Church there is an exorcist appointed and they discern and where it is necessary they do exorcise demons, but not in the name of Satan, but in the name of Jesus, in imitation of Jesus.

  • What do you do in remembrance of Jesus?
  • Satanic Mass done in mockery of the real Mass
  • Demon possessed man shows up at Mass:
  • Have you unwittingly aligned yourself with Satan?
  • Protestant confusion over the words “this is my body:”
  • How did the early Church solve issues where there is disagreement?
  • The Bible way or the Bible alone apart from the Church!
  • They knew their ABC’s and would not accept a different gospel
  • “Show it to me in the Bible!” Is the Bible Catholic?
  • Show it to me in the 1611 King James Bible!
  • Has the gates of Hades prevailed against your Church?

What do you do in remembrance of Jesus? The Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox and some Protestant Churches celebrate the Mass. Every Mass is a reenactment of Jesus’ Last Supper before Calvary. And we do this reenactment because Jesus tells us to in remembrance of Him, “Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19). Jesus could have asked the Apostles to do something else, but He didn’t. He wanted them to break bread claiming this is His Body; this is what he wanted the Apostles to do in remembrance of him.

And how of course the next question is how often did they do this in remembrance of Jesus, in the early church? They broke bread in remembrance of Jesus daily. And on the first day of the week (Sunday) they also broke break bread. There was a daily (Acts 2:4-6) and weekly (Acts 20:7) breaking of the bread and this was how often they did this in remembrance of Jesus. Does your tradition allow for a weekly breaking of the bread which was the Biblical norm?

For those of you who are reading this, does your church do what Jesus commanded us to do in remembrance of Him? Or do you follow some other tradition that does not follow these words of Jesus?

And do you devote yourselves “to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Does your tradition allow for these Biblical traditions as expressed in the Bible.

Satanic Mass done in mockery of the real Mass: Not every mass is a Mass that honors Jesus. Instead of doing this “in remembrance” of Jesus, some people (Satanists) perform what is called a black mass that is done in mockery of the words of Jesus and the Holy Mass which He instituted. In fact Satanists will steal consecrated hosts and desecrate them in their satanic masses.

In Oklahoma City there was a satanic group who stole a consecrated host from a Catholic parish and planned to desecrate it at one of their Satanic Masses. Archbishop Paul Coakley filed a lawsuit, asking a judge to stop the desecration by requiring the group to return the stolen property. He indicated in the suit that the Host was to be desecrated in the vilest ways imaginable as an offering in sacrifice to Satan. In light of the threatened lawsuit, the group returned the consecrated host to the Church. Thanks be to God.

“A spokesman from the satanic group, Adam Daniels, said, “The whole basis of the [satanic] ‘mass‘ is that we take the consecrated host and give it a ‘blessing‘ or offering to Satan. We’re censoring it, [I think he means using incense], doing all things that’s [sic] normally done to bless a sacrifice, which is obviously the host body of Christ. Then we’re taking that and we’re reconsecrating it, or the Devil does …

Msgr. Charles Pope says: “Grave and sad though this incident was (and it wasn’t the first), these Satanists obviously consider the Catholic Eucharist to be the Body of Christ. Unless I missed it, there have been no attempts by Satanists to steal and use a Methodist host, or an Episcopal one, or a Baptist one, or a Lutheran one, etc. It is a Catholic host they seek. Here then is an affirmation of the Scripture which says, Even the demons believe—and shudder” (James 2:19).

Demon possessed man shows up at Mass: Msgr. Pope tells of an experience with a demon possessed man who was present at one of his masses. “It was almost 15 years ago. I was At Old St. Mary’s here in D.C. celebrating Mass in the Latin (Extraordinary Form). It was a solemn high Mass. I don’t suppose I thought it any different than most Sundays, but something quite amazing was about to happen.

As you may know, the ancient Latin Mass is celebrated “ad orientem” (toward the Liturgical East). Priest and people all face in one direction. What this means practically for the celebrant is that the people are behind him. It was time for the consecration. At this time, the priest is directed to bow low with his forearms on the altar table and the host between his fingers.

As directed, the venerable words of Consecration were said in a low but distinct voice, Hoc est enim Corpus meum (For this is my Body). The bells rang as I genuflected.

But behind me there was a disturbance of some sort; a shaking or rustling sound came from the front pews behind me to my right. And then a moaning or grumbling. “What was that?” I wondered. It did not really sound human, more like the grumbling of a large animal such as a boar or a bear, along with a plaintive moan that also did not seem human. I elevated the host and again wondered, “What was that?” Then silence. As the celebrant in the ancient Latin Mass I could not easily turn to look. But still I thought, “What was that?”

It was time for the consecration of the chalice. Again I bowed low, pronouncing clearly and distinctly but in a low voice, Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi et æterni testamenti; mysterium fidei; qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem pecatorum. Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis (for this is the cup of my Blood, of the new and eternal covenant; the mystery of faith; which will for the many be shed unto the remission of sins. Whensoever you do this, you do it in my memory.

Then, I heard another sound, this time an undeniable moan and then a shriek as someone cried out, ‘Leave me alone, Jesus! Why do you torture me?’Suddenly there was a scuffling noise and someone ran out with the groaning sound of having been injured. The back doors swung open and then closed. Then silence.

Realization – I could not turn to look for I was raising the Chalice high over my head. But I knew in an instant that some poor demon-tormented soul had encountered Christ in the Eucharist and could not endure His real presence displayed for all to see. And the words of Scripture occurred to me: “Even Demons believe and tremble’ (James 2:19).

Have you unwittingly aligned yourself with Satan? Danilo, you accuse the Catholic Church of Satanism and mock the Church calling it a cult. What you don’t realize is that you have something in common with the satanists. You also are mocking the Church by calling it a cult and by falsely associating it of Satanism. I am not calling you a satanist because you are not; however, because you mock Jesus’ Church, you have unwittingly aligned yourself with the Satanists.

It would be helpful to you if you actually sat down over a period of time and read a history of the Church and the early Church Fathers, some of whom even knew the Apostles. What you will find is that the Catholic Church is the Church of history going back to Jesus and the Apostles. This is the single major reason why so many extremely intelligent God believing Evangelicals are becoming Catholic. Danilo, I know this is a surprise to you; after all your tradition, (not the Bible) has taught you that the Catholic Church is false.

When the Protestant reformers broke with the Church and tried to find their own way using the Bible Alone concept, they ran into theological anarchy. They all believed the Catholic Church was wrong in some way; however they could not agree with what is right.

An Evangelical friend of mine said that she didn’t like studying the Protestant reformers because it left her confused. The confusion had to do with the lack of common understanding of what the Bible was saying.

There is this common myth among non-Catholics that the Protestant reformers were a united group of wonderful Christians coming against an evil corrupt Catholic Church. These people were anything but united.

Protestant confusion over the words “this is my body:” One of the first things they were divided on was the Mass and what does Jesus words “this is My Body” (Mk 14:22) mean? Luther rejected transubstantiation; however; he “still retained the traditional interpretation, which said that Jesus was really present in the bread and wine by a bodily and objective presence – not dependent upon subjective feelings and considerations” (A Concise History of the Catholic Church – T. Bohenkottler. p. 199). Ulrich Zwingli’s understanding was that we partake of bread of wine and remember Jesus; however, there was no unique presence in relationship to the elements of bread of wine during the service. John Calvin believed that Christ was present on top of the bread and wine. Calvin, in his understanding of “this is My Body” was actually trying to get Zwingli and Luther to come together. He did not succeed; he just came up with another version of what communion is all about. From the start they were a Kingdom divided.

In reference too Holy Communion, Zwingli believed one thing, Luther believed another and Calvin still another. This is why any attempt by non-Catholics to give the Protestant view on Communion or most other items of Protestant belief will meet with failure. The big question is this, why could they not come to common agreement among themselves? One of the things I hear over and over from Evangelicals and other non-Catholics is that we should do things “the Bible way.” I believe they are right in this and so let’s see how they solved issues in the early Church using the Bible.

How did the early Church solve issues where there is disagreement? The first major issue in the Church was the issue of circumcision. In Acts 15 there were certain individuals from Judea saying you must be circumcised in order to be saved. The Apostle Paul could have just consulted the Bible and made his own determination as many do today. However, he didn’t do that, for one thing the Bible (New Testament) had not been written as yet. He consulted with the Apostles and the elders. “Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders” (Acts 15:2). After much debate Peter spoke up: “Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will” (Acts 15:10-11).

James affirmed Peters statement; “Simeon has related how God first looked favorably on the Gentiles, to take from among them a people for his name. This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written… (Acts 15:14-15). The disagreement in the Church was solved in the first conference of the Church in Jerusalem. Peter’s pronouncement still stands, and this is why the Church today does not require circumcision.

The Bible way or the Bible alone apart from the Church! The issue was ultimately solved. “The Bible way” is not consulting the “Bible Alone” apart from the Church and everybody making up their own minds. The Bible very clearly says they went up and consulted with the Apostles, Peter and the elders, the authority of the Church. This is the Bible way. A Baptist minister speaking against authority once said to me “I don’t think I should have to follow what some man has to say.” Well, if the minister was right then the Apostle Paul was wrong when he consulted men (the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem). Paul should have consulted “the Bible alone,” but instead chose to consult men.

Peter made the determination. The early Protestants had a major problem, which understanding of Jesus’ words “this is my Body” (Mk 14:22) is the correct one? They could have gone up to the authorities of the Church, using the line of Peter, and solved their problem. But they didn’t do this for the obvious reason, that they had already separated from the line of Peter in their protest. Did they try any other line? No they did not! They opted for “Bible Alone(Sola Scriptura), apart from the Church. They ignored “the Bible way” by going their way and not submitting this issue to the legitimate authority of the Church, as was done in Acts 15.

are not partaking of the one body, the one same loaf because they could not solve the problem of what it was. “Because the loaf of bread is ONE, we though many are ONE body for we all partake of the SAME loaf” (I Cor 10:17).

The Protestant reformers rejected the “the Bible way” for their own way. They would not submit to the authority of the Church and as a result could not partake of the “same loaf.” This was the beginning of theological anarchy in the Protestant experiment. They were a house divided and they exchanged “one body” for over 40,000 contradictory churches, denominations, non-denominations, sects, and fellowships all teaching a different Gospel.

They knew their ABC’s and would not accept a different gospel: Danilo, there are wonderful Evangelicals and others who knew their ABC’s (Anything But Catholic) of their faith just as you do. They were people of faith and like Catholics, they very much wanted to know the truth. They knew about the Apostle Paul’s warning and they wanted a church that presented the real Gospel as presented by the Apostles and Jesus; and they didn’t want to be turning to a different Gospel by mistake. “Or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough (2 Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6). They were very sincere and they knew that all of these thousands of non-Catholic groups collectively couldn’t be that one church because they were not all teaching the same Gospel.

If there is such a thing as “one body” as spoken of in 1 Corinthians, which one of the many thousands of non-Catholic churches is it? This is the question they were asking themselves. These people wanted to be apart of that one Church founded by Jesus and the Apostles. And they knew it must be ONE because the Apostle Paul in the Bible said so. But if it is one of the more than 40,000, then which one is it?

There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as you were called to the ONE hope of your calling, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all (Eph 4:4-6).

How did the early Christians express their faith? They would pray and ask God for help in figuring this out. Then they discovered the history of the early Christians. In order to find out which one is the correct church with a line that goes back to Jesus and the Apostles they wanted to know how the early Christians acted out their faith. And to their dismay, they discovered that it was not one of the more than 40,000. When they began to study the early Church Fathers, some of whom even knew the Apostles or the disciples of the apostles they discovered a church that appeared to be look like it was Catholic. This was more than a little frightening and so their prayer changed. Now, they were not just asking God which Church is His one Church established by Jesus Christ; they also added, “please Lord don’t let it be Catholic!” But of course it was Catholic and they began to fall in love with the very Church that they were taught to hate.

“Show it to me in the Bible!” Is the Bible Catholic? Being Evangelical, they had a very high regard for the Bible. They began to study the history of the formation Bible. They discovered that the Bible (New Testament) was fully determined by the Catholic Church in the latter part of the 4th century. There are a lot of brilliant Evangelicals out there and when they see this, they stop their war against the Catholic Church. Even Fr. Martin Luther credited the Bible to the Catholic Church. In 1228, Cardinal Stephen Langdon, archbishop of Canterbury broke the Bible into chapter divisions. In 1536 the Italian Dominican priest Santes Pagnini made a new Latin translation of the Bible, he subdivided Langdon’s chapters into verses. In 1559, the French printer Robert Estienne, working in Geneva, adopted many of Pagnini’s verse divisions and modified others when he printed his editions. Non-Catholics will often times make reference to the Guttenberg press and Bible printing. What they won’t tell you is that the very first book ever printed on this press was in fact a Catholic Bible, Latin Vulgate. There were 180 original copies of this Bible printed; 49 still exist today.

Marcus Grodi, former Presbyterian minister and present commentator on Eternal Word Television Network commented about the Bible. There was a time when Marcus Grodi had led Catholics out of the Catholic Church to his church using his Bible. HIs expression was,

“SHOW IT TO ME IN THE BIBLE!” He then tells about when he first realized that the Bible owes its existence to the Catholic Church. “I remember the strange empty feeling when I realized that the only reason that I have the Bible was the Catholic Church.”

Show it to me in the 1611 King James Bible! I have a copy of the original 1611 King James edition of the Bible and yes it is in print; you can order it from your local Protestant bookstore. The interesting thing about this Bible is that it has all the books. The deuterocanonical books were not removed from the later editions of the Protestant Bibles until the 19th century. When I made this point, I had one individual mention that he had a 1611 King James Bible and those books are not in it. I didn’t disagree with him; I simply made the point that he did not have the earliest edition, but a later edition. When I wrote a defense of Purgatory, I was quoting word for word in 2nd Maccabees from this 1611 King James Bible. Non-Catholics will insist those books are not in there; however my 1611 King James Bible says otherwise.

Has the gates of Hades prevailed against your Church? Danilo, I believe that you are a person of good intention and some day perhaps you will realize that it is futile to oppose the very Church that Jesus founded. After all, it was Jesus who said “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). You are not the first one to oppose the Church that Jesus founded, actually the Apostle Paul (Saul), in his spiritual blindness, was one of the first.

Mathew 16:18 is one of those Catholic verses that Catholics explain and non-Catholics attempt to explain away. Here is a rock and Jesus is going to build his CHURCH on it and He also gives us a guarantee that the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. Every Catholic sees this Church as the Catholic Church. Some Protestants might disagree.

However, I have never heard a non-Catholic argue that this Church, which cannot be destroyed by “the gates of Hades,” is in fact their church. Why not? I believe it is because the moment that they say that they are, then they are not only at odds with the Catholic Church, but also with the many thousands of other Protestant churches. If it is not the Catholic Church, then which church is it? They are not saying.

If you believe that your church is the one true church which is built on a rock with the promise by Jesus that “the gates of Hades will not prevail against it,” then please say so. At the same time would you also explain how your church alone is that one church and the other more than 40,000 non-Catholic churches are not. And while your at it could you please show a history of your specific church going back to to Jesus and the Apostles. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches can show a history going back to Christ and the Apostles.